The Office of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida Misses Licensing Deadlines
The Office Of Medical Marijuana Use formerly known as the Dept of Compassionate Use is Florida's Gov. entity charged with handling all licensing aspects of the cannabis industry in the state. The OMMU along with your MMJ doctors, are gate keepers to legally using cannabis in Florida today. But if you are a new patient considering MMJ for your medical treatments, then you will surely encounter some big problems with approval times through the OMMU.
You may have already been to see your doctor, reviewed the medical marijuana products available and decided on a treatment plan to fit your health needs. Then you get an email from the OMMU welcoming you to the states MMJ program and requesting that you upload some documentation they need, along with mailing them a $75 check for your ID card. So you quickly do it all just to find out that they are on a 3 month wait to approve new patients. So you call the OMMU and you wait 45 minutes on hold, finally someone answers and tells you that there is nothing they can do and you will just have to wait. If that is not frustrating enough, if there is anything not 100% correct in your profile online with the department, like your picture, or proof of residency for instance, you will get denied and may have to start the entire process all over again. Let's take your picture for an example:
It must be 2x2 passport style on a white background. So if you took a picture of yourself up against the wall with your smart phone and submitted that, it probably wont get approved.
According to the MJ Biz Daily the Department Of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida only has 12 employees to handle a 6,000 patient back-log. In addition to the problems with this process, the OMMU just missed an Oct 3rd deadline to issue the next 10 medical marijuana dispensary (Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) licenses, which state legislators promised would be done.
Christian Bax, the current head at the OMMU says that these set backs are caused by under staffing and hiring issues. The dispensary licensing was not done due to a new lawsuit filed about these laws in Florida. However state senators last week scolded Bax, telling him that the delays are not acceptable and that no lawsuit should stall a promise made to the voters about their MMJ program. Hopefully Bax will get any additional funding needed to expedite the process and get patients their cards faster.
As of now there is talk from attorney John Morgan a well known Florida marijuana advocate, currently pushing for full recreational legislation by 2018. Saying that he will file an emergency order for temporary approvals and licenses be giving to the over 6,000 pending applicants waiting for OMMU approvals.
It certainly seems like Florida has a long way to go until medical marijuana patients can easily get access, with no wait and convenient locations statewide. As more and more MMJ doctors are getting certified to recommend cannabis and more dispensaries are opening up all over Florida, we will see the industry change and morph into what will hopefully be full access to medical and recreational marijuana in Florida.
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