Lax regulation and low barriers to entry have triggered cannabis’s explosive growth in Sooner State
OKEMAH, Okla. — Chip Baker surveyed a vast field on the outskirts of an old hay farm an hour east of Oklahoma City, his ponytail waving in the thick, humid air, his voice growing excited.
“This is probably the largest collection of Squirt in the world!” he boasted, pointing to an array of neatly plotted cannabis plants before him that will soon flower pounds of the popular strain.
Baker would know. From the time he planted his first marijuana plant at 13, he’s been all about growing weed. A dream formed in the Georgia fields took him to Humboldt County, California — the nation’s earliest pot epicenter — then Colorado, the country’s first recreational market.
But it’s here in rural Oklahoma, down a dusty dirt road along the banks of the North Canadian River, where true cannabis cowboys — including droves of Colorado entrepreneurs like Baker — are buying mammoth properties to grow mammoth numbers of plants, all in a quest for mammoth stacks of kush-derived cash.
It’s a place unlike virtually any other in America.
“Other states grow patches,” Baker said with a grin, taking in the 90-acre, 40,000-plant cannabis farm before him. “In Oklahoma, we grow fields.”
The Sooner State, as deeply red as the American political palette will go, has almost overnight become the hottest place in the country to grow marijuana. It’s an unprecedented look at what happens when the government stays largely out of the picture and lets the free market run wild.
It started as a time killer between business ventures. Now it’s one of the most popular cannabis podcasts out there.
I had just sold Royal Gold, my first soil company. I was in the planning stages for Grower Soil, but still had a lot of free time. As a serial entrepreneur, I couldn’t just hang out, I had to do something.
I asked my friends Hollis and Michael for ideas, and they brought up the concept of hosting a cannabis podcast. All I had to do was try and talk about cannabis for about an hour. Like I even had to try.
Tony Don’t Smoke OG
In early 2016, I had no idea how to host a podcast. I didn’t have any of the gear. So I did what anybody would do and went to Google and YouTube. I found the best gear everybody was using, and it turned out to be pretty basic. Once I had the gear, I had to test it out.
While the first recordings I ever made are lost to time, my first real attempt at making a podcast would end up being released as Tony Don’t Smoke OG. I brought my gear over to my friend Tony’s house, and just started having a conversation with Tony over a joint.
As other friends would swing by, we would rope them into the smoke circle and ask them some questions. None of them ever reached a full episode’s length, but it was the beginning of The Real Dirt.
The Real Dirt Podcast
Once the end of 2016 rolled around, I had gotten a little more organized, built out a makeshift studio to dampen the outside noises and released the first episode with Christian Sederberg. It was a blast. We talked about the cannabis laws in Colorado, business compliance, and getting stoned.
Now it’s 2019, and from new episodes to re-releases, The Real Dirt has put out over 70 episodes. I know it ain’t a 3 hours episode every day like Joe Rogan and the other big guys, but that’s what makes The Real Dirt unique.
Next on The Real Dirt Podcast
There’s a lot coming down the pipeline for The Real Dirt, so don’t start getting sad that it might be over, ‘cus it isn’t. The Real Dirt has been in the same studio, which has been in the basement of my house in Denver, since the beginning. But Denver ain’t the only cannabis hub anymore.
Oklahoma’s medical cannabis market is about to explode, and I’m diving into it head-first. I got a new Cultivate shop opening in OKC, plus a bunch of other businesses in the works that I can’t wait to start talking about on the podcast. But of course that’s not all that’s new.
There will be a new Real Dirt studio soon, and I’ll be having more awesome guests on from all over the country. From growing it, to building a business around it, to financing it and staying ahead of the competition, The Real Dirt is going to keep bringing a wide range of expert guests from all realms of the cannabis industry.
From California to Maryland, up and down the coasts and everywhere in between, The Real Dirt will continue to bring you the latest industry news, trends and classic smoke stories. Whether you’re in the grow, driving home or just lounging with a joint, The Real Dirt has an episode for you.
Check out all of our episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to your podcasts now.