Oklahoma: Medical marijuana business owners feel strain of COVID-19 crisis

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Small businesses in Oklahoma are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 crisis, and that includes those in the medical marijuana industry.

"Senior citizens, military, people with PTSD - high anxiety; you know, how are we going to get the medicine to them,” asked John Koumbis, the owner of JKJ Processing.

Koumbis’ company is dedicated to making medicinal marijuana edibles. As this crisis develops, he feels like his business and his patients quality of life are hanging in the balance.

"I’ve made 11 calls to the OMMA and the legislature, and I’m not getting any response,” Koumbis said.

Darrell Carnes owns Mary Jane dispensary in Moore and says he’s also received very little guidance from the powers that be.

“At this time I have not received any type of a memo or a notification, other than much like other businesses to follow the protocols set forth by the governor,” Carnes told FOX 25.

But those protocols are vague, especially when it comes to the medical marijuana industry. Delivery of the drug is forbidden in the state of Oklahoma. And as the crisis worsens, both Koumbis and Carnes worry what could happen if Gov. Stitt opts to issue a lockdown.

“If we go on lockdown, they’re not going to have anything,” said Koumbis. "And that’s not going to be good."

It won’t be good for the patients, nor the thousands of moms and pop shops who process and distribute medicinal marijuana.

There’s currently no financial relief being offered at the state or federal level for medical marijuana business owners.

"Considering the illegal status at the federal level, we don’t expect it to happen at all,” Carnes said. "So you know it’s almost an outcry to say, ‘hey, you know, state of Oklahoma, we’ve helped you, we’re bringing the patients to you, the money’s there, help us.’”

But most importantly, Carnes says the governor and the state legislature need to do their part in considering those who rely on medicinal marijuana for treatment.

"You’re leaving 270,000, more than a quarter-million people of 4 million people in your state unattended to, and without any type of answers and no idea of what the future may hold,” Carnes said.

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