The Health Dept. was given just 60 days from the date of voter passage, to have a licensing structure in place for patients as well as medicine providers.
The OMMA was embroiled in lawsuits when the Board of Health was corrupted by bribes and false claims of terror. The legal council of the Dept. of Health sought to implicate cannabis advocates as perpetrators of death threats, but resigned when the plot unraveled. the Attorney General blew the whistle and cried 'foul' at the first set of proposed rules. that unconstitutional set of massive restrictions were thrown out and a very minimal set was substituted. We were described as "the wild west". No product purity standards were imposed and no testing was required. It was 'buyer beware', and still is.
The new staff & director got hit hard, early, and without ebb. They are given just 14 days to process an application. Unless the application has some discrepancy or incomplete material, the license is issued. A new patient is approved every 41 seconds.
This is Oklahoma govt's first wide scale implementation of a web-only process of seeking a state service. As such, it served as a test and experiment for many other state agencies to study and learn from. The worst part of this was the termination of a call center right at the peak of patient engagement, in february.
The OMMA has collected fees totaling $35.63 Million. Their appropriated budget for operations is about $8.5 million, and much of that is a one-time investment for software to run the online-only applications processing. the OMMA is housed in the State Health Dept, and their call center is shut down indefinitely. There is no means of applying in-person.
The patients paid in over $15 million. The license is normally $100 for 2 years. Just 3% of the money is from a discounted $20 license as a medicaid or medicare patient. Very few temporary licenses were issued for patients who already have patient licenses from another state. Those licenses are just 30-day authorizations for visitors and recent emigrants.
Medical Marijuana Businesses (MMBs) paid about $20.6 million for just a 12 month license. Growers & Dispensaries paid in $14 million & $11.8 million. Several of those MMBs who grabbed a license in Sept. of 2018, have already surrendered their expired licenses and opted out of the industry. the Health Dept. in mandated to develop a drug treatment program with part of the surplus revenue collected. The rest of the surplus revenue is designated for common education funding.
Beyond the massive application fees, the law also stipulates a 7% tax on sales of medicines by dispensaries. The voters understood this to be a simple sales tax. While most all prescribed medicines are pharmacies are not taxable, marijuana was designated to be subject to this tax on sales. The revenue collected by this simple tax will be more than sufficient to fund the operations of the OMMA, and the depreciative costs of the start up software.
The OMMA proudly boasts of their communications machine. Someone has to, I guess. You certainly won't hear a lot of compliments from the patients and MMBs. When the call center shut down, the problems only got worse for suffering patients who don't want to violate the law. But with their lives in serious danger, some did violate the law to take their medicines while the OMMA drug their feet or ignored the desperate pleas for resolutions to their applications.
Currently the only real public communications arm of the OMMA is their Twitter Acct.
The OMMA has rarely had a slow day. they average the processing of less than 800 applications each day. But they often get over 1500 applications on their busiest days of the week. In May they discovered a major tabulations error and they had to do an internal audit. the weekly twitter counts ceased while the OMMA recounted everything. They also used that time to completely catch up on the lag time in processing. the backlog dropped from about 12,000 to about 1000+. But over the summer they got farther behind and now are about 10,000 behind, again.
This report used data collected between August 26, 2018, to August 26th 2019. Very few applicants actually gave up trying to get a license. but some patients died before they could get approval to take cannabis medicines.