Dr. Ahmed El-Haddad with Mari J MD Medical Marijuana says the rollout here in Florida has worked in some respects.
"The state of Florida is doing a good job regulating the dispensaries and regulating the access to make sure it's not going into the wrong hands," he says.
It's a system he says that still has a lot of room for improvement.
"It's taking too long for them to get approved and be allowed to go to the dispensary to pick up medical marijuana. For them to wait 3 to 4 weeks to get a card when they can go get an opioid within 2 hours from their doctor…that to me is unacceptable."
Backlogs have become a major issue, not just approval for patient ID cards, but also for growing and dispensing licenses.
It's gotten so bad, last October, a legislative committee starting sending the department of health letters demanding answers.
Now lawmakers are taking things one step further.
In the House's 2018 - 2019 budget proposal, an amendment would freeze 2.1 million in salaries and expenses until DOH fixes the issues.
State Representative Jason Brodeur, who introduced the amendment, released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:
Dr. El-Haddad says MORE funding for DOH could actually be the solution.
"There's a high demand now, so you need to accommodate," he says. "They should be pouring more money into this to get more employees so they could do the right thing.
The Florida Department of Health released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:
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