Dispensary shuts down; $1 million in products seized

Medical Marijuana from Friendly's

NORMAN — A Norman medical marijuana dispensary was shut down and an estimated $1 million in products was surrendered to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.

Narcotics agents seized all of the marijuana in the Mr. Green store, 1161 12th Avenue NE, after the dispensary's owner failed to renew the license in 2019. Lawmen took control of the marijuana products in December, OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said.

OBN was scheduled to destroy the marijuana and related products, but Woodward was unaware if that had occurred. Woodward said the owner agreed to surrender the products to OBN agents.

Terri Watkins, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, said the dispensary license application was listed under Mr. Green and Mr. Green Grow House. Records with the Oklahoma Secretary of State show the registered agent for Mr. Green Grow House LLC is Araseli Brito. Telephone calls to Mr. Green in Norman were not returned.

Dispensaries are required to obtain licenses from the medical marijuana authority and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. Mr. Green had neither license for the Norman location when agents seized the store's inventory, Woodward said.

"If they've expired and there's evidence they're in the process of or they're close to getting it, we'll work with them, but they were not in the process," Woodward said.

Mr. Green is one of a handful of retail dispensaries statewide that have surrendered their license since dispensaries opened for business Nov. 1, 2018.

"Some can't survive and others have an ownership change," Woodward said. "The Norman store is not the first by any means, but it's only a small percentage that have shut down."

As of Dec. 1, Oklahoma has issued 1,083 dispensary licenses — including 68 in Norman —and 3,428 licenses for growers and processors since medical marijuana became legal in November 2018. Watkins said the medical marijuana authority won't know for a few weeks the number of retail store owners who did not renew their licenses.

"That's a lot of competition so it's impossible to say who will survive," Woodward said.

Figures provided by IBISWorld, a global research company, show the medical and recreational marijuana industry in the U.S. generated $14 billion in revenue during 2019, and has grown more than 28 percent each year since 2014. More than 17,000 legitimate marijuana businesses employ almost 71,000 people in the U.S., according to the market research report.

Officials with the Oklahoma Cannibas Industry Association could not be reached for comment on the Mr. Green closure.

Mr. Green had nine expired rejected licenses throughout Oklahoma, including Norman, The Village, Oklahoma City and Edmond, Watkins said. Medical marijuana authority records show Mr. Green has one active license in Lawton and two that have been resubmitted for locations in Edmond and The Village.

Tim Farley

366-3539

tfarley@normantranscript.com

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