Georgia’s ambitious plans to become the first US state to allow general pharmacies to dispense medical cannabis have been quashed by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
In October, Business of Cannabis reported that the Georgia Board of Pharmacy had opened applications for pharmacies to dispense medical cannabis, seeing 120 pharmacies agreed to provide medication from Botanical Sciences, one of the state’s two licensed production companies.
It followed the finalisation of rules in Georgia stating that low-THC oils (less than 5%) would be available to purchase in general drug stores for Georgian’s who have approval from a physician to treat severe illnesses including seizures, terminal cancer, Parkinson’s and post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, according to local news reports, the DEA warned pharmacies in late November that the practice was in violation of federal law, despite 23 licences already being issued.
In response the state regulator, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, said it was unable to override federal law.
The DEA emphasized that pharmacies cannot lawfully handle or dispense marijuana or related products with more than 0.3% THC.
In a letter to state pharmacists, CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association Mahlon Davidson said: “The current conflict between state and federal law puts Georgia’s pharmacies in a difficult position.”
He added that the organisation was “putting forth the maximum effort to help provide timely information and assist in navigating this issue.”
While this is a blow for local businesses and patients, the potential rescheduling of cannabis federally to a Schedule 3 substance could mean these restrictions are changed.