WEST FORK, Ark..–- Arkansans are one step closer to being able to obtain medical marijuana. This week, the Arkansas Department of Health opened the application process for people to apply for medical marijuana permit cards.
While there are currently no licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, the health department wanted to jump-start the process to prepare for the influx of applications once prescription pot becomes available.
Even though it’s early, West Fork native Larry Morris, said turning the application in now is a positive step in the right direction for this health.
“It means everything to me,” Morris said. “It’s going to be a big relief off my shoulders.”
That’s because, starting this week, people can now put in the paperwork to receive their medical marijuana identification cards. It can all be done with the click of a mouse.
Robert Breceh, General Counsel for the Arkansas Health Department, agrees with Morris.
“We wanted to get to this day,” Breceh said.
One of the biggest caveats in the process is that a doctor must write a certification, which isn’t the same as a prescription, to confirm patients have one of the 18 conditions listed on the form.
“There’s no requirement that every doctor has to do it,” Breceh said. “It will be up to the physicians whether or not they want to fill out the form.”
This concerns Morris, who has filled out the application, but wonders how his doctor will respond. Morris said he suffers from multiple conditions on the form.
“I am going to be applying,” Morris said. “I have the form right here. I’m going to take it to my doctor on Monday, and see where he’s at with it.”
Morris said this is a huge day for Arkansans needing medical marijuana to stay healthy and most importantly alive. Morris joins thousands of people the Arkansas Health Department expects to sign up.
While there is no medical marijuana legally being grown in the state, the health department said it will help prevent any hiccups once the cultivation centers open.
“One of the luxuries we have is no marijuana is actually for sale,” Breceh said. “So, we have plenty of time to get any bugs in the system worked out. We’re happy we’ve gotten this far and people are making applications.”
Those who qualify for the medical marijuana identification card will receive it 30 days before prescription pot is legally available to purchase. That’s not likely to happen until next year.
“Hopefully, there won’t be any problems from our standpoint keeping medical marijuana from the public,” Breceh said.
The Arkansas Health Department said the question they’ve been asked the most so far, is whether you can have a gun license and medical marijuana identification card. They said because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, people cannot have both in Arkansas.