In a groundbreaking development, the Georgia Board of Pharmacy has opened its doors to applications from nearly 120 pharmacies looking to provide medical marijuana products. This historic move makes Georgia the first state in the nation to permit the sale of low-dose cannabis within independent drug stores.
The implementation of the pharmacy rule, which extends medical marijuana sales to drug stores, promises to significantly enhance patient access. Up until now, the state has been served by only seven dispensaries, leaving patients with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, seizures, terminal cancers, and PTSD with limited options.
The exclusive suppliers for these pharmacies will be the state’s only two licensed cannabis producers: Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Cannabis Corp. These two companies were the first to receive approval earlier this year to cater to registered medical cannabis patients in Georgia.
Gary Long, CEO of Botanical Sciences, expressed his enthusiasm for this development, stating, “Pharmacists have been fielding questions from patients for years without ever having the ability to do anything about it. Finally, they have the ability not just to give people advice but provide them with the therapies they’ve been seeking.”
Georgia boasts more than 400 independent pharmacies, and the majority of them are expected to participate in this program. National chains such as CVS and Walgreens are the notable exceptions, as confirmed by Cecil Cordle, a member of the Georgia Board of Pharmacy.
This initiative is poised to bring convenience to the lives of Georgians, with approximately 90 percent of the state’s population residing within a 30-minute drive of a pharmacy offering medical marijuana products, according to reports.
Andrew Turnage, executive director for the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, hailed the pharmacy rule as “definitely big news” and emphasized its benefits for both licensees and, most importantly, patients. He remarked, “It will put access in virtually every county in the state.”
Addressing the number of medical marijuana patients in Georgia, a recent revelation by the Georgia Department of Public Health stirred up some controversy. It was disclosed that the department had miscounted and overstated the count of registered medical marijuana patients. The accurate figure currently stands at just 14,000 active patients and caregivers, a far cry from the previously reported 50,000.
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