Emergency Appropriations Being Used To Fund Med. Marijuana Program

Thursday, July 12th 2018, 10:19 am
By: Ashley Holden

The Oklahoma State Department of Health application information and instructions will be available on July 26 for medical marijuana. 

But how is the department funding this so quickly? According to the department, the funds are already there. In fact, the department has had these funds since November 2017. 

That's when the state legislature gave the department $30 million in emergency supplemental appropriations. A little bit of background, these were the funds given to the agency by the legislature during the "financial crisis." 

Eventually a multi-county grand jury determined that there was never a crisis. Around the same time, around 200 employees were also laid off. 

The Department of Health gave News 9 a statement regarding the use of the funds for the medical marijuana program. 

The statement said, "Absent further instruction from the legislature, the excess appropriated funds identified in the State Auditor and Inspectors Report will have to be used to meet the demands and requirements placed on OSDH by State Question 788."

Republican Senator Roger Thompson, of District 8, said using the funds for this purpose is allowed. 

"We gave them $30 million as a supplemental into their general operating fund. Once it's in their general operating fund it would be under the direction of their Commissioner and their board at that particular time to decide how that money could be used," said Thompson. 

Officials with the health department did say they have had several rounds of recalls for those people that were laid off. 

They also said at this time, the only position posted for the OMMA is the Director position.  

The applications for medical marijuana will not be accepted until August 25.