OSDH: Not Equipped To Implement Medical Marijuana

<p>The Oklahoma State Board of Health met for about two and a half hours Tuesday.&nbsp;</p>

Tuesday, January 9th 2018, 6:20 pm

The Oklahoma State Board of Health met for about two and a half hours Tuesday. They discussed the difficulty they have implementing change and the problems they'll face if medical marijuana becomes a reality.

The board discussed problems in the Department of Health that led the agency to misspend $30-million. Part of the problem, an antiquated computer system.

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"Compiling the information is a challenge and it isn’t exactly easy when you're using an outdated system. So we have a system that's a main frame system. It's in the Cobol programming language system" said Health Department CFO Mike Romero.

The board hopes to create a system that makes reporting more efficient. The board also discussed the possibility of voters approving a measure for medical marijuana in June.

"If that were to pass that would come under the purview of this agency for responsibility of implementation of policy" said Board of Health Member Robert Stewart MD.

Interim Health Commissioner Preston Doerflinger added, "This agency is not equipped frankly to take on that task as its prescribed currently."

Specifically, Interim Health Doerflinger said, with the crisis the agency currently faces it couldn't implement a medical marijuana policy. "From licensing to collections of fees and I think there are better places for that to occur, specifically would be the tax commission."

Finally, News 9 asked Doerflinger why the results of an internal investigation into the agency's misspending done back in 2014 is not being made public. Sources say, if the claims of a whistleblower had been properly investigated, the Department of Health would likely be facing five million dollars in misspending instead of $30-million. 

"Honestly I can't speak to what is currently occurring with that.” Doerflinger said, “I believe that is part of the investigation and I really can't speak to anything related to the investigation."


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