Medical card confusion

Medical card confusion
After some policy modifications, the state’s medical marijuana industry seems to hitting its stride issuing over 33,000 patient licenses, thus far. (shutterstock)

Kevin Barnett/Reporter

Medical marijuana process explained

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in June 2018 with the passing of State Question 788.

Not surprisingly, there has been much confusion regarding the program since, as it has gone through multiple modifications since it’s passage.

Sarah Lunceford, an Okmulgee dispensary operator, recommends visiting the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) website for comprehensive and up-to-date information on the state program.

She also recommends joining social media groups related to medical marijuana.

“These are good resources because the members share experiences and information… you may be experiencing a difficulty that someone else in these groups have already gone through,” Lunceford said.

The OMMA site is also where patients, caregivers, growers, dispensaries and processors must go to begin the application process.

Due to the FDA’s current classification of marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, it remains illegal at the federal level.

Substances in this schedule are viewed as having a high potentiality for abuse and no existing accepted medical use, such as LSD, heroin and ecstasy. Many supporters expect this classification to change in the near future given the amount of states that are adopting similar programs.

It is this classification that insurance companies site for their refusal to cover doctor visits for the purpose of obtaining a medical marijuana card, which has given rise to ‘alternate networks’ of doctors and clinics who provide recommendations for an average cost of $200.

The OMMA site maintains an updated statewide list of registered physicians.

In addition to the cost of the doctor’s recommendation, there is also a $100, non-refundable application fee.

For patients on Medicaid (SoonerCare) or Medicare that fee is reduced to $20, but currently there seems to be no way around the doctor’s fee.

If approved, the patient’s card is mailed within 14 days and remains current for two years.

The following documentation is required to complete the adult application:

– Proof of Oklahoma residency

– Proof of identity (unexpired)

– A clear, color, full-face digital photograph

– Physician recommendation letter (dated within 30 days of submission)

– If applicable, the patient’s Medicaid or Medicare insurance card or enrollment documentation

Unlike some other states, Oklahoma does not have a “list of qualifying conditions,” so deciding whether medical marijuana is a possible treatment option is left between doctor and patient.

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