New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program is 6 years old, but it’s still experiencing a few technical difficulties. Most patients aren’t getting their medical marijuana cards in a timely fashion. Applications must be approved or denied within 15 days of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program receiving them. Cards must be issued within 5 days of an approval.
Performance has gotten a little better, but patients are still waiting almost 3 times too long for their cards, according to the Union Leader. While the process of approving applications has improved greatly – getting cards issued has not. Roughly 98.4% of cards are not issued within the 5 day mandated period.
Authors of a recent program audit said, “We found the TCP approved initial applications in all cases within the 15-day standard, however, 98.4 percent of the cards were not issued within the five-day standard.”
Funding to allow proper operations is cited as one of the biggest issues.
The auditors also said, “Although the program was authorized by the Legislature, it did not initially provide a budget during the development phase, which contributed to the program’s inconsistent operations, ineffective client service, inadequate database and immature management control environment over card issuance.”
Flaws in the system were also found, leaving the auditors to call for a replacement for the state’s current system. Data is not being input properly. The program is not perfect, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Even though patients are not getting their cards on time – they do have ample access to their medicine once those cards are received.
Lisa Morris, the Public Health Directors, said, “The department is committed to improving operations, improving customer service and improving timeliness of card issuance and over the next year, it will implement needed changes.”
The Department of Health Services said, “Considering the depth, breath and complexity of the changes called for, it is expected that the department will need 12 months to fully implement policies to come into compliance.”
The state’s medical marijuana patients should start seeing improvements in the near future.