For the second time in three weeks, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has taken immediate action to shut down the call center and divert the limited staffing to help clear the flood of filed licensing applications. The law mandates that all applications be processed in 14 days, since patients often need immediate relief from many serious conditions such as severe nausea from chemotherapy & other cancer treatments, and to replace dangerous opiate drugs which have become addictive and less effective.
In November (the first full month that cannabis medicines were legal to dispense), the load of patient applications to process was about 6500. In February it was over 20,000.
This past August, the Director of the Oklahoma Dept. of Health, Tom Bates; told the bicameral Legislative Interim Study that he expected about 80,000 total licenses to be issued in the first full year. But in the first 6 months we are already in excess of 57,000 and adding to that number by over 5000 per week. At this rate the total will be double what the ODH director projected in his legislative testimony.
While patient information is strictly confidential, by federal law, the OMMA says that "a good portion of the patient applicants are over 60 years old." This further dispels the derogatory claims of opponents who characterize the program as a thinly veiled recreational drug use accommodation.
We're On track for 117,000 licensed patients by 1st anniversary
Nigel heavily focuses on the medical research and drug policy topics at SoonerPolitics, from an international perspective & a background in homeopathic herbs and agrarian culture.