Marijuana growers struggling to navigate changing legal landscape


Medical marijuana is a booming industry in Oklahoma with over 12,000 marijuana business licenses issued.

WASHINGTON – Medical marijuana is a booming industry in Oklahoma with over 12,000 marijuana business licenses issued.

The state was once renowned as a grower’s paradise with few regulations.  But now, farmers are asking for support.

“It’s not that they’re trying to push back against us, they’re just not out to help us,” said Jeff Boogaard, founder of the Cannabreeze Hemp Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia.

As a result, growers are restricted in unique ways. One of the biggest legal gaps prevents banks from working marijuana businesses. 

“You cannot just go to Bank of Ameruca and then apply for a mortgage to fund you,” said Roni Jaoude, owner of Astoria Growers. “Once they know it’s marijuana they decline.  They still look at us as if maybe it’s not legal .  

“They’ve already closed two of my personal accounts just because I work for marijuana, he said.

Other business practices are also impacted by the lack of federal legislation. Without guidance, federal agencies cannot properly oversee the industry.

“The inability for us to market, advertise is very, very difficult because of the inability for the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA to get on the same page and support,” said Jaoude. “I would love the Federal Government to consolidate and regulate and then apply those regulations evenly and equally across each individual state.

Bills such as the Safe Banking Act have been created to address these issues but it is rare they make it to the President’s desk.  The Senate is currently considering the bill, but the Safe Banking Act has been bouncing between the Chambers of Congress since 2019. 

One of the biggest obstacles preventing cannabis legislation from advancing is stigma. Despite science disproving many of the ideas perpetuated by the war on drugs, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug.

Despite the bipartisan support, industry lobbying still fear marijuana will be halted if Democrats lose their majority in Congress.  That’s why cannabis related bills are being pushed to pass before the midterm election. 

“There’s a plethora of scientific evidence to support it, we just wish the federal government would fall in line. Right now, it’s a little bit of a wild, wild west,” said Jaoude. 


Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories go to