The current published list of about 170 physicians would be replaced by a list of thousands.
The House gave final passage to a bill which corrects the policy of the State Health Dept on Medical Marijuana Recommendations. It now awaits the signature of the Governor. An emergency clause is included, which will make the policy effective immediately upon signage. On Wednesday, the House accepted all senate amendments of HB2613 and sent the bill to the governor. Coupled with SB162, which the governor signed on Tuesday, these changes mean greater continuity of care under a patient's current healthcare team.
What this will mean for patients is the ability to remain under the care of your own state-licensed physician and be able to implement treatment with cannabis medicines once your own physician's recommendation is certified by the Health Dept.
SQ788, which the voters passed last summer, was written with the intent of allowing any physician licensed to treat people in Oklahoma and certified by an Oklahoma board (Medical Doctor, Osteopathic Doctor, or Podiatrist) could begin recommending cannabis at their discretion. But the Board of Health decided to interpret the language far more restrictively and pretend that the language refers to being a "Board Certified Specialist" by an industry specialist board, rather than a state govt. board.
The language of HB2613 still does not allow eye doctors to recommend, even though glaucoma and other serious eye diseases are long known to be effectively treat patients. Chiropractors and dentists are also still excluded, as are Naturopathic Doctors.
When the Health Dept. made their errant interpretation last summer, it necessitated far more effort for the agency, as well. they had a need to authenticate who actually holds board certification as a specialist with each association and where each organization exists.
Now (if signed into law) the OMMA (a division of the Oklahoma Health Dept with oversees Medical Marijuana matters) would simply confirm the roster of current licensed physicians with the state of Oklahoma.
None of this change means that anyone's physician will cooperate in making patient recommendations. Currently the Health Dept has done nothing to supplement physician training in cannabis medicines. The OU medical school in Tulsa is one of few schools to have responded with anything approaching real training. Dr. Clancy (a professor at OU Schusterman Medical School) says his medical school students begged him to come up with something. He says he developed a 4-hour seminar about cannabis medicines. It was so rare and popular that he's been traveling to other universities to give the same seminar.
The Health Dept. also made an illegal and ill-fated attempt to require that all dispensaries be fully operated by a licensed pharmacist. But no pharmacy school in the region provides any training on cannabis medicines. One pharmacist we interviewed agreed that "the fella running a local 'head shop' knows more about dosing and interactions than a pharmacist does."