Access To MMJ Through Pharmacies Will Get Easier After Rescheduling In Georgia

Home » Access To MMJ Through Pharmacies Will Get Easier After Rescheduling In Georgia
Garry Stewart
Written By Steve Brandon

May 9, 2024

access to mmj through pharmacies will get easier after rescheduling in georgia

Georgia’s medical marijuana industry and regulators are celebrating the recent announcement by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding the rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This move is anticipated to increase patients’ access to medical marijuana through pharmacies potentially, a change from the current limited availability through only nine dispensaries in the state.

In Georgia, the medical marijuana laws are unique as they theoretically allow registered pharmacies to dispense cannabis, but this plan has been halted following DEA warnings issued last November. These warnings stated that pharmacies licensed with the DEA can only dispense controlled substances in Schedules II-V of the CSA. The warnings emphasized that neither marijuana nor THC could be legally possessed, handled, or dispensed by any DEA-registered pharmacy.

Even with these difficulties, there’s hope that as cannabis moves from Schedule I to Schedule III, Georgia pharmacies may be able to move forward with selling medical marijuana.

What does medical marijuana providers have to say?

Botanical Sciences, one of the few companies permitted to grow medical marijuana in Georgia, expressed optimism about the rescheduling, suggesting that pharmacies could now provide prescribed medical cannabis by doctors directly to patients.

According to Botanical Sciences’s CEO Gary Long, while the rescheduling has various impacts, including raising awareness about medical cannabis laws in the state, the availability of medical cannabis through pharmacies is still subject to Georgia state law. Gary Long said that the DEA acknowledging cannabis’s medical benefits is essential for making the industry more legitimate and helping patients get medical marijuana more easily.

access to mmj through pharmacies will get easier after rescheduling in georgia

Views from Experts on DEA’s Move and Challenges Ahead for Georgia’s Medical Marijuana

Andrew Turnage, executive director of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, expressed his approval of the DEA’s move, stating that it aligns with Georgia’s vision for medical cannabis accessibility. He emphasized that Georgia’s plan of pharmacies for dispensing medical marijuana reflects a model that many other states would find favorable for medical purposes.

However, Turnage also noted that the impact of rescheduling on Georgia pharmacies is not specific, as his agency does not regulate or license these businesses.

Robert Mikos, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, explained the tough rules marijuana businesses face after rescheduling. He pointed out that FDA approval is still a big obstacle for state-licensed marijuana companies. Despite the benefits of rescheduling Georgia’s medical marijuana access, there are still many regulatory challenges ahead.

Dawn Randolph, CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, agreed with Turnage, saying that rescheduling might help patients get medical marijuana more easily. However, she warned that implementing this change could take a long time and be complicated. They’ll need to think about things like dosage, watching for side effects, and avoiding drug interactions.

Georgia’s medical marijuana industry is all set

Georgia’s medical marijuana industry is set for a big boost with the recent DEA decision to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act. This move has sparked hope among industry insiders for growth and expansion.

Andrew Turnage, from the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, sees the rescheduling as a step in the right direction for making medical cannabis more accessible in Georgia. He believes it will encourage more people, including patients and healthcare providers, to get involved without worrying about federal consequences.

Ira Katz, a pharmacist, thinks that rescheduling will make it easier for doctors to prescribe marijuana, likely in forms like tinctures, gummies, and soft gels. This could benefit patients with conditions such as seizure disorders and chronic pain. Turnage also predicts that rescheduling will make it easier for researchers to study marijuana.

access to mmj through pharmacies will get easier after rescheduling in georgia

Supporters and Opposition

State and local officials supportive of marijuana access see the rescheduling announcement as a positive development. For instance, in Pennsylvania, Governor Josh Shapiro‘s spokesperson sees it as reinforcing efforts toward legalizing adult-use marijuana.

Former DEA head Asa Hutchinson recognizes that people’s opinions about medical cannabis are changing. At the same time, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer is trying again to make cannabis legal across the country. However, it’s not clear if this will happen because politicians disagree on the issue.

On the other hand, A major anti-marijuana group is using the federal rescheduling news to raise funds and may even challenge the government’s decision in court.

Take Away

Georgia’s medical marijuana industry is excited about the DEA’s decision to change cannabis to Schedule III. This could mean more accessible access to medical marijuana for patients. But there are still challenges, like rules and how to make it happen. People are hopeful for the good things this change could bring, like making it easier to study marijuana and helping patients get the treatment they need. But, There’s still a lot to sort out before significant changes in Georgia’s marijuana laws occur.

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