Oklahomans overwhelmingly accepted a measure final summer season to legalize medical marijuana. Now the therapy is in overwhelming demand.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) said this week that, as of Monday, it has accepted 146,381 licenses for sufferers to obtain medicinal cannabis, together with 958 licenses granted to caregivers. As well as, the company has accepted 3,397 licenses for growers, 1,605 licenses for dispensaries and 905 licenses for processors.
To place these numbers in a barely totally different perspective: OMMA has enrolled greater than 3.5% of the state’s whole inhabitants as sufferers. In accordance with the Tulsa World, the state’s participation fee locations it close to the highest among the many 33 states within the nation which have legalized medical cannabis.
It’s additionally considerably larger than what state officers anticipated for the primary 12 months of this system. After the poll measure was handed final June, the World reported, officers anticipated that roughly 80,000 sufferers could be registered within the opening 12 months.
Karen O’Keefe, the director of state insurance policies for the Marijuana Coverage Challenge, advised the newspaper that she believes Oklahoma “has among the many finest medical marijuana packages within the nation by way of sufferers having reduction shortly and not using a bunch of hurdles they and their physicians have to leap by means of.”
“I feel it helped there was a noncompetitive utility course of,” O’Keefe stated. “You don’t have the federal government deciding what number of pharmacies can function. For probably the most half, we let the free market determine.”
Oklahoma voters greenlit this system a 12 months in the past once they accepted State Query 788 by a 57%-43% margin. However important disagreements within the legislature adopted, and threatened the breadth of the state’s medical cannabis program. Weeks after the vote, the Oklahoma Board of Well being accepted guidelines that might have forbade the sale of smokable marijuana merchandise at dispensaries, and would have additionally required a licensed pharmacist to be current on the dispensaries.
Proponents of State Query 788 protested, arguing that voters supported the measure with the understanding that smokable pot could be out there for prescription. Jason Lowe, a Democrat within the Oklahoma state home, stated that the Division of Well being had “enacted legislation that undermines probably the most participated in elections in state historical past and silences the voice of Oklahomans throughout this state.”
The criticism and specter of lawsuits could have been what prompted Mary Fallin, then the state’s Republican governor, to in the end signal a revised algorithm that didn’t ban smokable merchandise or require an on-site pharmacist.
The legislation permits Oklahomans aged 18 and older to use for a license with Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority after receiving a word from their physician; upon approval, sufferers should pay about $100 for the license.