Georgia To Become First U.S. State To Allow Pharmacies To Sell Medical Cannabis
Georgia has become the first state in the nation to introduce a groundbreaking initiative, allowing nearly 120 pharmacies to apply for licenses to offer medical cannabis products. This development, referred to as the “pharmacy rule,” marks a significant shift in the accessibility of low-dose cannabis, as it extends the availability of medical marijuana beyond the confines of specialized dispensaries.
Currently, Georgia has only seven dispensaries catering to individuals suffering from a range of debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, seizures, terminal cancers, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The state’s sole licensed cannabis producers—Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Cannabis Corp.—have received approval to supply these pharmacies with medical cannabis products. This milestone comes after their initial authorization earlier in the year to serve registered medical cannabis patients in Georgia.
It is expected that a significant proportion of Georgia’s over 400 independent pharmacies will participate in this program. Chain pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are likely exceptions, according to Cecil Cordle, a member of the Georgia Board of Pharmacy.
This expansion is poised to bring medical marijuana access within a 30-minute drive for approximately 90 percent of Georgia’s population, significantly increasing patient access to these therapeutic options. The regulations allow pharmacists to not only offer guidance, but also provide patients with the therapies they have been seeking.
“Definitely Big News”
Andrew Turnage, executive director for the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, emphasized the positive impact of the pharmacy rule, stating that it is “definitely big news” and will benefit both licensees and patients alike. This move effectively ensures access to medical cannabis in virtually every county in the state.
The recent revelations by the Georgia Department of Public Health have revised the number of registered medical marijuana patients downward. Previously reported at 50,000, the actual count stands at just 14,000 active patients and caregivers.
Nevertheless, the introduction of medical cannabis sales in pharmacies is poised to significantly improve access to low THC oil, which contains no more than 5 percent THC, for eligible patients with proper physician approvals.