Patients who applied and got approval to join the medical cannabis program in Arkansas will have to wait until February to receive their medical cannabis cards from the state. The delay comes amidst the inability of cultivators to provide medical cannabis to the licensed dispensaries.
Arkansas residents voted to change the constitution in 2016 so that medical cannabis could become legal in the state. However, the process of implementing that change has taken longer than was expected.
The Department of Health in the State is reluctant to give residents medical cannabis cards when medical cannabis supplies aren’t available. The authorities feel that patients would incur an unnecessary cost since the cards are only valid for a year and one must renew the card before accessing medical cannabis. Getting the card several months before dispensaries are ready to sell products would therefore mean that a portion of the card’s validity was wasted.
However, many patients view their desire to have the medical cannabis cards in a different light.
The cards issued by the health authorities in Arkansas can allow the cardholders to acquire temporary licenses from the nearby state of Oklahoma. These temporary cards can be used to buy or grow medical cannabis from the Oklahoma medical cannabis dispensaries. Federal law doesn’t permit marijuana to be moved across state lines, so anyone interested in buying or growing medical cannabis from out of state has to be ready to stay in that state until what they purchased is used up.
The temporary licenses are only valid for 30 days, so there is no chance that an applicant will buy medical marijuana in more than one state. The verification process done before the temporary card is issued confirms that the applicant resides in a state where a medical cannabis program is legal but medical cannabis isn’t available as yet.
Some Arkansas residents have attempted to use the approval letters issued after their medical cannabis applications were processed, but the Oklahoma authorities have rejected those letters.
The stance of the Medical Marijuana Authority in Oklahoma is understandable because the approval letters may not have vital details, such as the medical marijuana card numbers that can be used to track the activities of the cardholders.
For now, Arkansas residents may have to wait until the state prints their cards. That may give those who are badly in need of medical cannabis one month within which to take advantage of the temporary licenses issued in Oklahoma. In case the Arkansas program delays even further, the patients can continue renewing their Oklahoma permits.
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