In the initial stage of Florida’s medical marijuana program, there was the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU). They were part of the legal process in order to get your Medical Marijuana Card. Even though they were overworked and understaffed, they were still Compassionate!
But then some politicians decided that the term “compassionate” had nothing to do with Medical Marijuana. Well, I wish someone told me because compassion for helping others is the primary reason I got into this business. However, “compassionate” was misleading, so they chose to rename it with a much more blunt name… “Office of Medical Marijuana Use,” or the OMMU. Rolls right off the tongue, right? Plus, now we don’t have to worry about that horribly misleading use of “compassionate”, right?
Either way, a lot has changed with the OMMU. In the beginning, they were unfortunately infamous for taking a long time to go through the process of creating and issuing the Medical Marijuana Card. Since then, they have decided to outsource production to ensure that they have enough people on the job to get things done quicker… at least less slowly. Even though the OMMU once claimed to process 5,000 new patients a week, they’re actually processing approximately 3,000 patients per week. The current registration and card-issuing process takes about three weeks, which is much better than the original three months it took initial patients. According to this week’s OMMU update, there are currently 120,351 patients in the registry and 97,256 have actually gotten approved as I write this.
Recently, the OMMU actually called me. That act in itself was incomparable at first; however, the woman on the other end was very kind, caring, and patient with my confusion over what exactly we were talking about. I had recently just received my Medical Marijuana Use Registry renewal card, and I did not notice a problem with the expiration date. The problem being that it was two weeks from the date of issue, meaning they sent me a card that was about to expire in two weeks. I was still shocked that I was not only talking with someone at the OMMU, but to hear that they caught a mistake, notified the patient personally, AND had already begun the process of rectification it was surreal! She even told me that I would be receiving an email that will count as a replacement card while my new card is in the mail. Now this is progress!
This does not mean they are perfect, and they still have a ways to go. Some patients have fallen through the cracks and are still waiting on actually obtaining their cards, despite the fact that the patient has done everything right. Every patient counts. Every patient is a human being, like you or me, and they deserve to get their Medical Marijuana Card as quickly as possible! Conditions don’t go on hold.
But hey, at least we no longer have to be confused with the term “compassionate.”