Author: Seth Bodine
The medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma is booming, but some utility providers struggle to keep up with the growing need for water and electricity.
Since Oklahomans legalized medical marijuana in 2018, nearly 10% of the population has obtained cards to buy cannabis. Meanwhile, 8,630 growers have opened shop in the state.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority gives growing licenses to cannabis farmers, but it doesn’t regulate how much electricity or water the growers use, leaving it up to local utilities to decide what to do.
“We’ve got water systems that were built 50 to 60 years ago being asked to perform to standards today that are just outside of its capacity,” says Sheldon Tatum, who manages a rural water district in Hughes County, Oklahoma.