Newly released numbers by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority show 1,363 individual patients have applied for a state medical marijuana license.
The application process has only been open for three days, and so far the agency has approved 23 patient licenses.
“I didn't think it would ever happen in my life time,” advocate and applicant John Frasure said.
Frasure is a veteran but was also involved in a car wreck that left him with chronic pain. He says he also suffers from PTSD and insomnia.
At one point, Frasure says he took 5,500 pills a year, but made the choice to switch to cannabis when it was still illegal.
“I decided to quit those pills and I have been illegally off those pills for three years with cannabis. Now, I can be legal,” Frasure said.
While he says the application process was simple, there can be some hurdles.
This afternoon a CBD shop in Newcastle, named Complete Body Defense, opened its doors to help patients understand the process of applying.
The official OMMA application page can be found here.
“When we first started on this, I thought a lot of the movement was going to be made up of my generation or even younger,” C.B.D. President Jeremy Dedmon said. “A lot of the elders in the community have come out of the woodwork in support of medical cannabis.”
As of 8 a.m. Monday, 1,363 patients, 389 grower, 288 dispensary, 118 processor, 9 caregiver applications have been received by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
Dedmon say he plans on stocking his shelves with cannabis, but that will likely not happen until the new year for many suppliers.
“Once the cultivators get their licenses approved, they can plant. Once those plants reach maturity, somewhere between 90 to 100 days, they are processed and packaged then they will be on the shelves,” Dedmon said.
People will still be able to home grow once approved.
Advocates say no matter the demographic, it could mean affordable healthcare for hundreds, if not thousands of Oklahomans.
“People who have a tough time paying for their medical bills, for the first time, under this law, they are going to be able to grow their own medication at home,” Dedmon said.
While appreciating the progress so far, supporters took a moment to consider others who paved the way to this point.
“I salute all the cannabis activist that come before me. You have no idea what they went through,” Frasure said. “People have been assaulted, arrested, and thrown in prison for this. It's ridiculous.”
But the push to move forward continues.
Whether it’s stigma, fear of backlash, or the fact that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, many say the fight of legalization is far from over.
“You've had so many years about being paranoid about it, that you don't feel safe yet,” Frasure said. “Once we legalize completely across the United States, that will be when I feel safe.”
The Complete Body Defense shop in Newcastle implores those with lingering questions to pay them a visit.
Patients must have a physician’s recommendation to be considered for the license.