August 28, 2018, Oklahoma
Medical cannabis remains a pressing issue in Oklahoma this summer. At the beginning of the season, Oklahomans voted to legalize medical cannabis. From then on, the state administration has been constantly working for the implementation of the measure. The efforts made by the state can finally be seen as the state has issued the first batch of patient licenses last weekend.
The demand for medical marijuana in Oklahoma was unmistakably on display when the state’s MMJ application system went online on Saturday. It was immediately swamped with the applications from businesses, patients, and caregivers.
According to the number given by the state administration to the Associated Press, on its inaugural day, the system received 634 applications from business candidates, three from potential caregivers and whopping 1,054 from patients. As the day ended, the state succeeded in collecting over $1.5 million in application fees.
The administration also started to issue the licenses on the same day.23 patient licenses had been issued by the end of the weekend. The objective of issuing a license on the weekend was to test the application system. The system worked well except few glitches that were quickly fixed. For instance, applicants with iCloud and Yahoo email accounts didn’t get the automated confirmation email.
The post-approval struggle of MMJ legalization in Oklahoma
Majority of cannabis legalization campaigns faced hurdles before it gets approval from the voters or legislators. However, in Oklahoma’s case, the troubles started to emerge after the question of legalization had already been approved by the voters.
As soon as the voters approved the measure, the state’s medical association came up with some strict provisions to be added to the program. Lawmakers and state’s board of health also backed these regressive measures. One of the biggest setbacks for MMJ users was the proposed ban on smokable cannabis.
Cannabis in smoking form is the cheapest mean to consume cannabis. Patients who can’t afford packaged cannabis products resort to flowers to get the therapeutic benefits of the strain. Moreover, the board also made it a requirement for MMJ dispensaries to hire a professional pharmacist. Cannabis advocates, patients, and businesses strongly protested against these regressive provisions.
In the beginning, Governor Mary Fallin hinted to ratify the measure with proposed changes. However, after hearing the reservations of the other side, she decided to strike them down. Cannabis advocates commended the Gov. Fallin’s timely stroke to make it certain that legal MMJ remains accessible to every patient by not approving the ban on smokable cannabis. Similarly, hiring a pharmacist would have put an extra burden on fledging MMJ dispensaries.
With the exclusion of all the controversial provisions and the inauguration of the licensing process, it can be said that Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program is right on track. As soon as the licensing work winds up, MMJ dispensaries would start to operate. In next two months, Oklahomans might see the first brick and mortar MMJ dispensary beginning its operation in the state.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]