OKLAHOMA CITY - As applications for medical marijuana licenses prepare to launch, officials at the state's health department are going through it with a fine comb.
"We’ve got about 40 people dedicated to this right now and, like I’ve said, they’ve been burning the midnight oil since April and, really, over this last month, trying to do everything that we can to get this ready to launch," said Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates.
Applications for licenses will launch at 10 a.m. on Saturday through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. The entire process will be online.
"They [applicants] can visit their local library. They can ask a friend, a family member, a neighbor to help them. If they have their smartphone, again, they can use their smartphone. The easiest and simplest way to apply is do it online, even though there might be some individuals who don’t have computer access," said Melissa Miller with OMMA.
The first step is creating a profile.
"It’s very important when they make the account that all information they enter is 100 percent accurate. This information cannot be changed," Miller said. "Applicants can provide the same proof of identity and proof residency if it is an Oklahoma drivers license or an Oklahoma identification card, but they will need to upload it twice."
Amanda Bertone, co-owner of Green Hope Wellness in Moore, said she and her business partner, Renee Harper, are ready to apply for their license. They are hoping to transition to their CBD shop into a dispensary.
"We got background checks for everybody, the logistics on the building, and then a letter from the landlord saying it was okay to put a dispensary here and then a business plan," Harper told News 4.
Bertone admits she was once skeptical of cannabis.
"It’s been a ton of research and a ton of surrounding myself with the right people in this industry to continue my education to learn. I’m a year pharmaceutical free because of the CBD-type products," Bertone said. "It’s not let’s go out and get high; it’s how can we go out and use the right ratio of the different cannabanoids from the plant to be able to create a full medicine."
However, Bertone said the preparation of running a dispensary goes much farther than just getting the license.
"There’s all these different things behind the scenes that people don’t realize that you have to really take into account," she said. "You need security guards, cameras, everything; you’re going to be subject to break-ins or... idiots, so you just got to protect yourself."
The Oklahoma State Department of Health will respond to all applicants within 14 days on the denial or approval of their completed application packet.
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