Guess Which Liberal, Free-Wheeling State Is the First to Allow Pharmacies to Sell Cannabis Oil? – Georgia!

October 17, 2023 · Cannabis.net

Do you remember Dale Jackson, the Georgia father who invited police to follow him as he crossed state lines and got cannabis oil for his autistic son, Colin?  All his hard work has paid off as Georgia familes with sick kids will now get a chance at the same cannabis oil that has helped his son so much.

The Georgia Board of Pharmacy has initiated the process of receiving applications from licensed, independent pharmacies seeking approval to distribute authorized medical marijuana products. According to an official statement from Botanical Sciences, one of the state’s two licensed production companies, approximately 120 pharmacies have already committed to dispensing medication.

This marks a significant milestone in the state’s new regulatory framework, making Georgia the pioneer in the nation to make medical marijuana products available at independent pharmacies. It’s worth noting that Georgia has over 400 such independent pharmacies.

While Georgia’s legislation prohibits the cultivation, sale, or possession of marijuana in its natural plant or leaf state, it does authorize the production, sale, and consumption of food products infused with a substance known as low THC oil. Moreover, it permits inhaling of low-THC oil through smoking, electronic vaping, or vaporization. Individuals with active low-THC oil registry cards can have up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC oil strictly for medicinal purposes.

Notably, low THC oil is restricted to containing no more than 5% THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for inducing a “high” in users. The Georgia General Assembly endorsed the distribution of low-THC oil as part of a state law enacted in 2019.

However, it took several years to establish comprehensive regulations concerning safety, inspections, licensing, and distribution. Governor Brian Kemp recently granted approval to the rules passed by the Georgia Board of Pharmacy last month, thereby paving the way for the commencement of pharmacy sales.

Introducing medical cannabis sales in pharmacies will make low-THC oil more accessible to a broader range of patients in Georgia. This complements the seven dispensaries that have been operational since April. To purchase cannabis oil at a pharmacy, patients must present a state-issued low THC oil registry card and valid identification.

These new regulations signify an expansion of Georgia’s medical marijuana market and serve as a potential blueprint for other states considering pharmacy-based sales.

Botanical Sciences Pioneers Georgia’s Status as the First State to Offer Medical Cannabis at Independent Pharmacies

Botanical Sciences, Georgia’s primary, physician-founded, fully integrated medical cannabis provider, will now distribute its products through licensed independent pharmacies nationwide.

The inclusion of pharmacies as authorized outlets for medical cannabis, in conjunction with Botanical Sciences’ proprietary dispensaries, broadens the pathways for patients to avail themselves of the therapeutic potential of cannabis medicine.

Georgia stands as the pioneering state in the nation to permit the dispensing of medical cannabis through pharmacies to registered patients, allowing Botanical Sciences to offer relief to a greater number of individuals in need.

Gary Long, CEO of Botanical Sciences, stated that their commitment to providing hope and relief to registered patients in Georgia is deeply rooted in our medical origins. With their five self-owned dispensaries and nearly 120 exclusive independent pharmacy partners, almost 90% of the state’s population will have access to Botanical Sciences’ medical cannabis within a 30-minute reach.

They take immense pride in leading the way in Georgia and setting an example for the nation, leveraging the trust and professionalism of pharmacists to ensure equitable access for registered patients.

In the past year, Botanical Sciences has forged strong collaborations with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy, the Georgia Pharmacy Association, and the Academy of Independent Pharmacy to implement this innovative initiative effectively.

Through this well-planned expansion, patients who have received a physician’s recommendation and secured their medical cannabis card now enjoy unprecedented access to the required medicine. To find a comprehensive list of participating independent pharmacies and nearby locations, patients can visit botanicalsciences.com/locations and enter their zip code.

Furthermore, besides being accessible at licensed pharmacies statewide, Botanical Sciences launched dispensaries in Marietta and Pooler earlier this summer. Additionally, the company plans to open three more dispensaries in Stockbridge, Chamblee, and Augusta by year’s end.

The New Regulatory Regime

This set of rules and regulations pertains to licensed pharmacies and Low THC Pharmacy Dispensaries in Georgia. Here’s a summarized version of the rules:

Protection of Low THC Products and Records

  • All licensed pharmacies possessing Low THC Products must take diligent care to protect these products and associated records from loss or theft.
  • Records related to Low THC Products should be maintained as required for Dangerous Drugs under O.C.G.A. T. Ch. 16-13 and must be secured similarly.
  • Low THC Pharmacy Dispensaries must ensure that all Low THC Products are purchased from or returned to firms holding a valid permit from the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.
  • Low THC Products should be stored in the prescription department, accessible only to authorized personnel, unless they are in compliant collection receptacles as per state and federal regulations.
  • The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency (GDNA) can inspect places or premises used by Low THC Pharmacy Dispensaries concerning Low THC Products and associated records.
  • During inspections, GDNA personnel may examine, copy, remove, or inventory records and Low THC Products.
  • Those possessing Low THC Products and records are responsible for making them available for inspection.
  • After an inspection, GDNA provides a report listing deficiencies or violations and any recommendations for secure storage and handling of Low THC Products.
  • Individuals with Low THC Products and records may request an inspection, which the GDNA Director must conduct without unreasonable delay.

Prescription Department, Requirement, Supervision, and Hours Closed

  • The physical space of a Low THC Pharmacy Dispensary is the same as that of the Predicate Retail Licensee, and activities must be conducted within this space.
  • The pharmacist in charge of the Low THC Pharmacy Dispensary is the same as the one designated for the Predicate Retail Licensee and is subject to relevant rules.
  • A licensed pharmacist must be present and on duty in a Low THC Pharmacy for the same hours as required for the operation of the Predicate Retail Licensee.

In essence, these rules ensure the secure handling and supervision of Low THC Products, maintain records, and establish guidelines for Low THC Pharmacy Dispensaries in Georgia, emphasizing compliance with state regulations and safeguarding these products and records. (Full Story)

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