The term ‘barriers of entry,’ gets thrown around a lot in our community. The business jargon that we can’t escape simply implies obstacles to entering a certain type of business arena. Obviously, cannabis has its challenges here. The legal market seems to heavily serve one demographic despite cannabis being a plant that serves so many in different ways. As we continue our time in Oklahoma, a state known for its low barriers of entry and diverse cannabis demographic, we discussed the road to get here as well as the struggle to keep the state community focused and activist-run.
So, how did this conservative state become the ideal cannabis model? A lot of it lies in that very fact, with everyone striving for their independence in business. Individual independence has led to fierce protection of cannabis as laws seek to capitalize on the infant industry. Through the state’s focus on medical versus recreational they’ve maintained the legislation that reflects them the best; a feat most states fail at in the first few months.
Chip from GnuPharma told me about the laws that made it all happen. After all, he was one of the authors of it, writing a lot of the core principles of the medical legislation with others in the area. For local activists with little money and resources, getting signatures, getting on the ballot, and everything in between getting it passed was exponentially harder. In the end, however, you have an industry that’s almost completely campaigned for and run by patients.
Quality Community Over Regulated Structure
Those barriers of entry are important as we compare Oklahoma to any other legal state, especially those with changing laws. Though the residents feel OK lacks structure, it makes up for it in collaboration. Another cannabis business owner, Morgan from High Voltage dispensary, saw a need for more variety. Just like many others, however, Morgan didn’t have access to the requirements that other states ask for. Oklahoma’s legislation and a few friends gave him the opportunity to build his dispensary and glass shop. Morgan pays it forward by partnering with the neighboring businesses in the complex so that everyone in the community wins with the presence of cannabis.
The community’s efforts are based on more than just that. The legal efforts are based on their collective research and understanding of the plant. Chip from Gnu pursued cannabis professionally after experiencing realizing what the plant was capable of. He took up researching, modulating, and understanding cannabis on a neurological level, leading to work with the endocannabinoid system.
We all have a network of receptors that cannabis directly responds to. For this reason, cannabis interacts differently with us all; even if we don’t notice it initially. Like a variety of other plants, cannabis can affect the whole body and create a very slow change in vital areas. Despite it being similar to other plants we use in legal medicine today, cannabis is extremely ostracized from accessibility.
Talking to either one of these two, you’d never feel that the stigma is true. The excitement in their voice when the topic is cannabis or community can’t be explained. There are advocates and there are people like this!
Holistic Research for Better Medicine
Even more so than his research, Chip has worked with the University of Mississippi on cannabis research. With the knowledge he has already gained he has been investigating how endocannabinoids interact with the body and autism, more specifically. This has been in partnership with the National Center for Natural Products Research, the premier botanical research center in the world. He hopes he can bring that knowledge and even more back to his community of activists and business owners. Most of the shops still rely heavily on medical products, now focusing more on cannabinoids over THC. Along with what Chip has learned, they can consistently bring the best products to patients.
For Oklahoma, keeping those barriers low has been a committed fight, even before medical cannabis came to be in the state. At this rate, I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in their recreational market in the future. They’ve already streamlined so many processes in their industry. While improvements can be made, both Chip and Morgan love and appreciate what the outsiders see their state as. As for the future, they only hope legislators don’t restrain the plant with limited science and stigma. As I’ve been told, cannabis is a lot more all-encompassing than that.