Patient access to medical cannabis will increase greatly in the coming weeks.
Georgia’s estimated 14,000 registered medical cannabis patients will soon be able to purchase cannabis products with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil at pharmacies in the state (1). About 120 pharmacies have already applied to sell the oil created by Botanical Science, one of the state’s two licensed producers (1). The Georgia Board of Pharmacy began accepting applications last week and requires inspections before granting approval (1).
In 2019 the General Assembly approved the distribution of low THC oil, and recently the board finalized and passed its rules regarding safety and distribution of the products. With last month’s approval by Governor Brian Kemp of these rules, Georgia is set to be the first state in the US to sell medical cannabis products at independent pharmacies (1).
“Pharmacists have been fielding questions from patients for years without ever having the ability to do anything about it,” said Gary Long, CEO for Botanical Sciences (1). “Finally, they have the ability not just to give people advice but provide them with the therapies they’ve been seeking.”
Within the coming weeks, independent pharmacies are anticipated to start offering low THC oil and it is estimated that nearly all of Georgia’s population will be within a half hour drive of a participating pharmacy (1). Registered patients will need to present their state-approved registry card, which must be obtained through a doctor’s approval (1). The THC oil can contain up to 5% THC (1).
“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,” said Jonathan Marquess, vice president for the Georgia Pharmacy Association and pharmacy owner (1). “But they do have a caring professional, a knowledgeable professional pharmacist, in their communities who can talk to them.”
Georgia approved the medical use of low THC products in 2015 and qualifying conditions include autism spectrum disorder, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease (2). Currently, patients are able to obtain cannabis through the state’s seven approved dispensaries, which were opened earlier this year (1).