In less than a handful of months, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority already has raked in nearly $6.57 million in application fees.
Of that, $5.45 million came from licensing medical marijuana dispensaries, growers or processors, said Melissa Miller, a spokeswoman for the state division overseeing the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana program.
The rest — $1.12 million — was generated from patient licenses, said Miller in an email.
The program, which includes start-up expenses, is expected cost the state between $8 million and $8.7 million in the first year, she said.
“We had no idea that the application fees would just tally up the way they would. It’s crazy,” said Chip Paul, who co-wrote the legalization ballot initiative approved by voters in June.
As of Sunday, the marijuana authority had issued business licenses to 651 dispensaries, 1,060 growers and 277 processors. Each business must pay an annual licensing fee of $2,500, Paul said.
Paul said 1,000 grow licenses “is almost outrageous,” but crafters of the legalization ballot measure wanted to ensure that any Oklahoman — regardless of wealth — had a shot at opening a business.
“No refund, regrettably (if you fail),” he said. “But you get the right to try.” [Read more at McAlester News-Capital]