On Tuesday, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a new law into immediate effect. It's Emergency clause requires the OMMA to accept a medical recommendation from any MD or DO physician whose license is in good standing with the State of Oklahoma. The physician no longer is required to be a "board certified specialist" in addition to being a general practitioner.
The impact is huge for patients who want to remain in the care of their own local clinic. It will allow them to seek the new recommendation at any follow-up, med check, or annual physical exam. Until now the patients have had to go hunt down a willing physician who does not know anything about their complex health condition. It also puts an additional financial burden on patients who may be battling cancer, mental illness, or other serious conditions. But this law doesn't mean their current physician will be willing to recommend cannabis treatments for them or any of their patients. Some physicians simply won't recommend any treatment that they have not been sufficiently trained to utilize in the care of patients.
The new law's author, Senator Rob Standridge, (R-Norman) is a pharmacist who initially opposed the SQ788 initiative, but he's seen firsthand the impact that cannabis meds can have for end-of-life care and alleviating severe pain while avoiding opiates.
Other major changes to medical marijuana law will go into effect 90 days after the legislature's May adjournment.
- The Physician Recommendation Form has been temporarily amended and updated instructions regarding physicians’ certifying board are included. This field is no longer required on the form.
- However, the online application will still request this information while OMMA works with its application software vendor to update the online application to reflect this change. Patients should enter “NA” in the online application for the field labeled “Physician Certifying Board.”
- The optional physician registration form has been updated to remove items related to board certification for physicians wishing to register with OMMA.
- Language throughout the OMMA website is being updated to reflect changes regarding board certification of recommending physicians.
- Permanent changes will be implemented following the adjournment of the current legislative session, as additional legislative changes are possible.