To say a few patients have asked us “Where is My Medical Cannabis ID Card?” over the past few weeks, would be a gross understatement. We have dozens of patients who are fully qualified to start medical cannabis treatment and have completed the application process but are still waiting for the Department of Health (DOH) Office of Medical Marijuana Use (MMU) to complete the verification process. I have some insight into what is going on and am optimistic the system will get better.
A patient recently notified me that he submitted his application and fee more than 6 weeks ago – significantly longer than the 30-day turnaround time listed on the State’s website – but had still not received his card. He called the DOH in Tallahassee to see why it was taking so long. After twenty minutes a woman answered the phone in a frazzled voice and informed him they were understaffed. Although the check he submitted had still not been cashed, she told him to please not send another because HOPEFULLY, THEY WILL FIND HIS CHECK. Seriously? We can and must do better than this!
It is evident that the delay patients are experiencing is not the fault of the DOH staff. In fact, it probably isn’t anyone’s fault and rather the nature of bureaucracy. On June 24th when Governor Scott signed the bill, thousands of patients in the “3 month waiting period” suddenly became qualified as that honorous wait was removed. Additionally, many other new patients were able to seek certification immediately following the signing of the law. The new law required funds to be allocated to the DOH for implementing the law and hiring new people. However, when the law took effect, the DOH had not yet received the necessary funding to handle this massive influx. Thus, the DOH and qualified patients have found themselves in a major bottleneck. Now that funds are going to be allocated to staff the Department adequately, it is reasonable to presume we will start to see the process speed up to a more acceptable timeline.
As for my above-referenced patient, the Office of Medical Marijuana Use eventually informed him they “found” and processed his check. His application was approved and he finally received his I.D. card so he was able to begin his treatment. I am hopeful my other qualified patients awaiting approval will soon be able to start their medical cannabis treatment as well, and that the Department will continue to shorten the time it takes them to process applications for certification.
Family Medical Cannabis Clinic and Wholistic Pediatric and Family Care have been treating patients with medical cannabis since 2016. As the Tampa Bay area’s leading authority on medical cannabis treatment, Dr. David Berger is committed to first understanding his patients’ needs and then customizing a medical cannabis treatment plan that will produce the most effective results. For more information about medical cannabis treatment in Florida, please visit our website by clicking here. Existing patients may also contact the clinic directly through their patient portal.