Georgia will soon become the first U.S. market in which non-hemp-derived medical marijuana products are sold at independent pharmacies as well as state-licensed MJ-only retail outlets.
Considered restrictive compared to other states such as bordering Florida, Georgia’s 2019 MMJ law permits only low-THC oil of up to 5% THC. Flower is prohibited.
However, in sharp contrast from other states, Georgia’s law provides for those low-THC cannabis products to be sold at “independent pharmacies.”
Sales of products containing low-THC oil manufactured by Botanical Sciences – one of the two operators licensed to produce MMJ products in the state – will soon begin at 120 independent pharmacies across the state, the company said in a news release this week.
The Georgia Board of Pharmacy in June approved regulations for independent pharmacies to sell the low-THC oil products.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed off on those rules in September, thus granting pharmacies some legal protection.
Access will remain limited to patients who suffer from a short list of serious medical conditions, and they will still need physician approval.
But in Georgia, where only seven MMJ dispensaries are open, extending sales to pharmacies will greatly expand access to medical marijuana.
“We’re going to have patients that need this health care in some remote parts of Georgia that probably would never have a dispensary near them,” Jonathan Marquess, the Georgia Pharmacy Association’s vice president and owner of several Atlanta-area pharmacies, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The first sales could occur within a few weeks, the newspaper reported.
Florida-headquartered Trulieve Cannabis Corp., the other company licensed in Georgia to manufacture low-THC oil, will also start selling its products at pharmacies in the state, a representative of the multistate marijuana operator told the Journal-Constitution.
Pharmacies hold the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration licenses necessary to dispense prescription drugs, but they have long been loath to touch federally illegal marijuana.
There are more than 400 independent pharmacies in the state, according to the newspaper.
Of those, more than 100 have indicated interest in selling low-THC oil, advocates told Capitol Beat News Service.