MUSKOGEE, OK (KJRH) — Medical marijuana dispensaries popping up all over small towns in Oklahoma are working to help their own towns’ economies, but a new trend is forming. Owners are starting to come from outside the state to help build the industry.
John White, who manages Oklahoma Natural Grass in Muskogee, says he jumped on board the three-week-old store after he saw its potential for the community.
“It’s awesome to see new things coming in here to help the community,” White said. “I want to do it all. I want to blaze a trail, I want to help the industry, and I want to help our community all in one swoop.”
White says he's excited for the job opportunities the industry is creating, especially in his hometown.
More than 1,600 dispensaries have opened across Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. As the industry continues to grow, shop owners from outside the state are beginning to take notice.
Todd Mitchem is from Colorado. He got into its medical marijuana industry when it first began in 2010. He moved to Muskogee to help his friends start a dispensary after he watched Oklahoma’s system grow over the past year, seeing the potential.
“I’m really here to be part of it, and to add intelligence wherever I can, and support,” Mitchem said. "The way the industry here is, the way the people are, and the knowledge that I have, it’s like I have a time machine, and I get to go back to 2010 and start over with all this knowledge.”
Mitchem says he’s not the only one who’s taken notice, and is expecting many others from outside the state to begin to flock. Mitchem says with the lessons he learned from Colorado, along with a community that’s welcomed their dispensaries, he sees a bright future. He hopes to hire even more local help over the next year.
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