Earlier this summer along Interstate 35 in southern Oklahoma, billboards advertising cannabis businesses upended a road trip game for one traveling Texas family, when Mom and Dad had to explain to their inquisitive kids what the signs were about.
A pit stop at a Marietta gas station didn’t provide relief. There, the parents had to explain the green, blue and black bongs, each made in the shape of a middle finger and for sale on a shelf.
“We were driving up, taking our kids to camp to stay for a week,” said Paul Chabot, whose five children range in age from 6 to 12. “As soon as we crossed the Texas border we began to see a number of billboards popping up. We play games with our kids, reading the billboards. We couldn't play that game anymore. I was really disappointed.
"My wife and I took our kids to Broken Bow last year and we don't remember seeing signs like that. It just exploded. It seems like they were popping up every couple miles.”
More than a year after Oklahoma voters passed State Question 788 to legalize medical marijuana, the cannabis industry is booming in the Sooner State.
There are twice the number of medical marijuana patients than expected. More than 6,500 business licenses have been approved, including 1,700 for dispensaries. Monthly revenues are running in the millions.