The heartland states are slow moving in terms of cannabis legalization. While the Oklahoma marijuana market has become insanely oversaturated, and Virginia has legalized both adult and medical use, other states show little to no movement at all.
Heartland states are expansive and don’t see as much demand for cannabis as other areas. So while they aren’t necessarily against marijuana, they aren’t in a hurry to create their own booming cannabis industries, either.
Here’s what you need to know about cannabis regulations in the heartland states, from the oversaturated Oklahoma marijuana market to future opportunities opening up in Virginia.
Neither medical nor adult use is legal in Kansas, and there are no signs of that changing in the near future.
There does seem to be some demand for cannabis — especially in Kansas City — but so far, the state doesn’t seem interested in capitalizing on that demand.
Missouri is legalized for medical use only and does not have a competitive application at this time. The only two license types available are transportation and seed-to-sale, but the state has done a good job of communicating medical marijuana regulations and requirements.
If demand increases, Missouri could potentially reassess and open up manufacturing, dispensary, or cultivation licenses at a later time. If you’re interested in establishing a cannabusiness in Missouri, keep an eye out for future developments.
Although the Oklahoma marijuana program is medical only, the market is so saturated and in demand that it might as well be legal for adult use, as well. And with no official qualifying conditions, it’s very easy to get a medical card — in fact, about 10% of the population has one.
Oklahoma also offers tons of licenses for cultivation and dispensaries and has no license caps. If you’re looking at getting into the Oklahoma marijuana market, your best bet will be in manufacturing, because that area isn’t nearly as saturated.
Despite oversaturation, the Oklahoma marijuana market still holds a lot of opportunity. Because of the low barrier of entry, many Oklahoma marijuana businesses are poorly built and executed, and the market will weed them out in time. The old, underperforming business will fade out and give way to new ones.
If you can do things right — market your brand well, put good policies and procedures in place, train staff properly, and commit to superior quality — your cannabusiness can succeed in Oklahoma.
Although neither medical nor adult use marijuana is legal in Tennessee, the state has made some progress. Earlier this year, Tennessee followed Alabama’s suit and passed a bill to create a study commission to consider medical marijuana and expand the state’s current CBD laws.
Although the state likely isn’t moving anywhere quickly for medical cannabis, it is headed in the right direction.
Virginia has legalized marijuana for both medical and adult use. Applications will be competitive, but so far, no rules have been made, and applications won’t start being accepted until sometime in 2023. Following that, stores won’t start to open until 2024.
As the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority sets up and regulates the industry, it will also establish the number of licenses, which cannot exceed 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 cultivators, and 60 product manufacturers. That said, it’s possible (but unlikely) that the board could decide to go way under those numbers.
Cultivation licenses will be divided into two types: Class A licenses will be capped at a certain number of square feet or plants. Class B licenses, on the other hand, will be limited to 1% THC — essentially a CBD-producer license.
If you’re interested in Virginia’s marijuana programs, be sure to keep an eye on the development of their rules and regulations in 2022 so you’ll be prepared to meet the requirements.
More About Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities
Potential for cannabusinesses in the heartland states is hopeful but not concrete. The Oklahoma marijuana market might be a good place to start — but only if you really know what you’re doing and can beat out the competition. Virginia also holds a lot of promise, depending on how their rules and regulations shape up.
Keep in mind that due to the smaller populations and dispersed rural areas, you won’t see as much profit as you would in other parts of the country. But there are a few opportunities that might be worth looking into to start — especially in the field of medical cannabis.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Virginia and Oklahoma marijuana markets or opening up a cannabusiness in the heartland, schedule a consultation with us to discuss your options.