By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
The newest business to open up shop in the community is fast growing in popularity and ubiquity … and, though it could be debated, itʼs not only because products on its shelves are filled with the longtime-illicit drug, marijuana.
It appears Okemahʼs new downtown business addition, Stress Releaf Cannabis Co. — at least, according to several customers who have spoken with the Okemah News Leader on their way out of the new dispensary — is the type of company that goes “above and beyond” and is “always willing to do what it takes to prove the old adage, ‘the customer is always right,ʼ” a couple customers said Tuesday morning.
The medicinal cannabis retail store opened its doors at 14 W. Broadway, right at the head of Okemahʼs main drag through downtown, just a couple weeks ago, doing so to a mass of patrons interested in what the place was all about and another mass of folks already holding a State-issued medical marijuana card, ready to legally purchase pot in their little Oklahoma town thatʼs criminalized and confined the well-known drug and those caught using it in the past.
That all changed — rather drastically, it should be noted — after the mid-term election of 2018, which saw State Question 788 receive in its favor almost 55% of the votes tallied that November day.
So, it passed, and about a year thereafter, SQ 788 went into effect as official law in the State of Oklahoma, making the Sooner state the 30th in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana possession and its use for state-issued medicial cannabis cards.
The new law also made it possible for retail and commercial license-holders to sell products containing or infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the plantʼs active psychotropic chemical compound that is known to produce an oft-sought- out “high” by smoking or ingesting it.
All that said to say, THC products are now legally for sale in Okemah, and the business is “super happy to be here … and we are doing this all by the book,” Stress Releaf Cannabis Co. owner Danny Mills said.
“We follow all the stateʼs laws and regulations,” he said. “We are licensed growers also, so we grow most of our marijuana plant products, as well as make or produce several of the THC-infused products.”
“Itʼs been a long, tedious process for us to get where we are, and we are super happy to be here,” he continued. “Okemahʼs great, and we want to be a part and help this community. Itʼs going to take some getting used to for some people, but we try to be humble and kind and understanding.”
Mills said he and his family — making up the rest of the Stress Releaf Cannabis Co. team — believe in the “beneficial good medical marijuana can bring to people in pain or having seisures or struggling with depression or anxiety and a number of other ailments.”
“We want the whole community, the City of Okemah, those concerned and those disturbed by this business and what it sells being here to know that we are a medical establishment,” Mills explained. “We take this very seriously, and no customer without a state-issued card will even be allowed in the vicinity of our THC-containing products.
“We are here to provide good and safe products to medical marijuana patients that need it, according to their doctor and the State.
“We are not, however, here to supply the townʼs drug addicts, which is what people sometimes think,” he concluded.
Donʼt have a medical marijuana card?
Those that answered ‘noʼ are not excluded from entering the Stress Releaf Cannabis Co. Dispensary or from purchasing stuff from the new establishment. The storeʼs front room is filled with smoking accessories, pipes and CBD (the non-high-producing cannabinoid also found in marijuana) products, which anyone over 18-years-old can legally purchase, possess or use.
However, no state cannabis patient card means no THC … no matter what. Itʼs behind an always-closed door that only Stress Releaf staff can let people (card- holders) through.
The article now comes full circle. As was mentioned in the beginning, Stress Releaf Cannabis Co. is the “type of business that goes above and beyond for its customers,” so Mills said they are going to help get cannabis patient cards for individuals that donʼt have one.
The dispensary will hold its first Stress Releaf Patient Drive May 4, which will see local physician, Dr. Melonie Ferry, DO, on-site to write patient recommendations before the Stress Releaf team sends the paperwork to the State of Oklahoma, which are the steps to be taken for the card to be issued.
There are two separate fees: one to the doctor, which at the May 4 Patient Drive will be $100 (usually $200), and then a fee to the State, which is about $100, as well. In all it may cost a little over $200 — those fees are solely the responsibility of the patientsʼ.
Stress Releaf plans to simply make it convenient, accessible and easy, taking care of all the clerical stuff and paperwork for the patient.
Mills said he and his team plan to have regularly-scheduled, routine patient drives.
The May 4 Patient Drive, which falls on a Saturday, is open to the public and will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Card-seekers with Medicaid only have to pay a doctorʼs recommendation fee of a little over $20.
During regular business at Stress Releaf Cannabis Co., veterans, first-time visitors and marijuana caregiver-card-holders get 10% off any purchase.