Osage County a magnet for potential marijuana businesses

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

There is a steady stream of business people interested in potentially locating medical marijuana operations in Osage County, the county’s planning and zoning director told county commissioners Monday.

Planning and zoning director Jake Bruno said he probably spends about two full days a week talking to people about commercial marijuana grow facilities, dispensaries, processing facilities and marijuana transportation businesses.

“We are getting between 30-50 calls per week,” Bruno said. Not everyone who contacts his office actually decides to do business in Osage County, but there is a lot of interest, he said.

“These are lengthy conversations,” District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones told his colleagues, adding that he couldn’t recall a time recently when he had stopped into Bruno’s office and not heard a conversation about medical marijuana.

Interest in Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program is significant enough that the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has established a call center, but that call center does not handle legal questions regarding marijuana businesses. Those types of questions are referred to municipal and county officials, and that’s where offices like Bruno’s come into the picture.

Bruno also told county commissioners Monday that his office is actively keeping up with the growth of the bed-and-bath business in Osage County. He said that he has received assistance from larger jurisdictions, such as Tulsa and Oklahoma City, regarding processes used in dealing with bed-and-bath businesses.

Another area where the county is seeing growth is the establishment of new cell/communications towers, Bruno said. The county Board of Adjustment approved two new towers in the past couple of months, and another is awaiting final approval, he said.