(ABC) -According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 23 states have comprehensive medicinal marijuana laws in place. Although the Oklahoma medicinal marijuana program has a very limited scope, legislators are looking at other states, like Pennsylvania, that have effective program already in place.
"It is our pleasure to be here today and to share what is our first of several informational sessions for the public on our med MJ program," said Secretary of Health Karen Murphy.
The Secretary of Health says the medical marijuana program is extensive.
"Really, what we are doing is implementing a new industry in PA," Murphy said.
Here's what you need to know so far. They are still looking to hire a program director. They have received over 120 applications. Another priority, getting growers in place. They have received over 100 inquiries, 25 growers will be selected, they are hoping this online survey will help them establish some regulations.
"Next month, we will have more information with the survey we are doing and we will have more information when we open up for applications," Murphy said.
The Health Department is also working on getting minors and their caregivers ID cards, so if they are using medical marijuana now, they are protected. However, there are still a lot of legal questions surrounding this because those parents must obtain the medicine legally in another state, but it is against federal law to cross state lines with a Schedule I drug
"The reality is it is a very complex program," Murphy said.
Lolly Bentch is a member of Campaign for Compassion, the grassroots group that spearheaded the fight to legalize medical marijuana in PA. The group was hoping all patients would get ID cards right away for protection.
"We had really, really hoped that adult patients would be covered during the temporary regulations during this first phase. Ya know, we wanted adults covered there too," Bentch said.
"We understand that, and we are very empathetic and were working quickly swiftly to get this program up and running for all those that need it," Murphy said.
The Secretary of Health says they hope to have regulations in place by July, so they can get ID cards into the hands of minors and their caregivers. Currently, Oklahoma has a similar law restricting medicinal marijuana to minors for health reasons. Lawmakers say there is still work to be done so that patients can have access to medical marijuana in all 50 states.
In other health news, the annual Tomato Festival will take place on Saturday, July 9, from 7:30 a.m. until noon at the Lawton Farmer's Market. Enjoy food, fun and sample salsas at this healthful community event.