The Stillwater Planning Commission voted 3-0 to establish a medical marijuana dispensary Tuesday during its regular meeting at the Stillwater Municipal Building.
Commissioners Brad Rickelman and Vicky Jerome were absent as Chair Cindy Thielman-Braun, Vice-Chair Mike Shanahan and Commissioner Mike Buchert voted 3-0 in favor of a new dispensary from Corporation Asset Network Association LLC at 2319 E. 6 Ave. in Stillwater. The new dispensary was approved and sent to the City Council . Four members of the public were there, but none of them represented the new dispensary.
Though it is still illegal federally, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana when voters approved Oklahoma State Question 788 on June 26. Commercial licenses for growers and processors cost $2,500.
Four medical marijuana dispensaries have already opened in Stillwater and about 1,100 dispensaries and 1,800 growers have opened in Oklahoma since Aug., according to KFOR.
Commissioner Mike Buchert has noticed the increase in applications the commission has reviewed.
“I have no idea how many we’ve approved, but it seems like an awful lot,” Buchert said.
KFOR’s data points to increasing medical marijuana popularity in Oklahoma, reporting that the state took in over $7.2 million in medical marijuana sales in February. Stillwater Planning Commission Vice-Chair Mike Shanahan is unsure if this means more growth is to come.
“I really would have a difficult time speculating that,” Shanahan said. “We’re at the very front end of the process, so I think it needs to mature before we can make estimates on how it will impact the state.”
There has been some backlash to medical marijuana being legalized in Oklahoma. Former Gov. Mary Fallin even moved to ban smokable marijuana after Oklahoma State Question 788 passed.
Assistant City Manager Paula Dennison says city employees are not meant to decide if the state law on medical marijuana is good or bad.
“As a city employee, we really don’t have an opinion one way or the other,” Dennison said. “We’re here to process applications as they come in. Of course, following state law is very important for any of the jurisdictions and I really think that Stillwater is really ahead of the curve on everybody else.”
Dispensaries are still sprouting up around the state despite divided public opinion about the law.
Stillwater Planning Commission meetings are televised on AT&T U-verse 99 and may be viewed online at Stillwater.org.