In the past two years, Oklahoma’s fight against illicit cannabis farms has intensified. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) has taken decisive action, closing down more than 800 unlawful cannabis operations operating under the guise of the state’s medical cannabis law. This crackdown has not only resulted in over 200 arrests but has also led to the seizure of nearly 7,000 pounds of cannabis.
Mark Woodward, spokesman for the OBN, highlighted that the agency’s enforcement efforts have a specific focus – “out-of-state” illegal operations that are allegedly linked to international crime networks. These networks include groups from countries like Russia, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Serbia.
Woodward emphasized the gravity of the situation, explaining, “There may be people who watch and say, well, what’s the big deal? It’s just marijuana. I don’t think they have the full gravity of the situation about the violent behavior, the quadruple homicides, the sex trafficking, labor trafficking, extortion, violence, arson, water, and electrical theft, and other issues that we’re dealing with out here with these criminal organizations here in Oklahoma.”
Notably, these illegal operations aren’t just affecting public safety; they’re also harming Oklahoma’s legitimate medical cannabis businesses. The influx of illicit products has driven prices down, leading to closures and bankruptcies within the legal cannabis industry.
Woodward affirmed the OBN’s commitment to protecting legitimate cannabis businesses while sending a clear message to criminal organizations: “This is not a safe haven for your criminal organizations to come and try to hide because we will identify them, and we will shut them down.”
Currently, OBN is actively investigating several thousand potential illegal cannabis farms scattered throughout the state. As the battle against illicit cannabis cultivation continues, Oklahoma remains steadfast in its determination to maintain the integrity of its medical cannabis program and ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens. Stay tuned for updates on this ongoing struggle to protect the state’s cannabis industry and combat organized crime.