“This gives an opportunity for virtually every community to have access.”
By Dave Williams, Capitol Beat
Georgians eligible to treat their chronic illnesses with cannabis oil soon will have a lot more choices of places to get the medicine.
The state Board of Pharmacy has released a set of regulations that will allow Georgia’s independent pharmacies to dispense cannabis oil to eligible patients enrolled in a registry maintained by the state Department of Public Health.
The General Assembly passed legislation in 2019 legalizing the cultivation of marijuana in Georgia under close supervision and the conversion of the leafy crop into low-THC cannabis oil to treat patients suffering from a wide range of diseases.
The state agency that oversees the medical cannabis program has granted manufacturing licenses thus far to two companies. Trulieve Georgia and Botanical Sciences LLC have begun producing cannabis oil and have opened dispensaries in Marietta and Macon, with more to come.
Separate from those dispensaries, the 2019 law also authorizes independent pharmacies to sell cannabis oil to eligible patients.
Of more than 700 independent pharmacies across the state, more than 100 have expressed interest in the program, said Andrew Turnage, executive director of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.
“This gives an opportunity for virtually every community to have access,” Turnage said.
“They set a pathway for independent pharmacies to apply and subject these pharmacies to inspection and regulation for this medicine,” he said.
Turnage said the board plans to roll out a draft application form next week that will include the proposed fee schedule. He expects the first pharmacies licensed to sell cannabis oil to begin selling the medicine in late August to early September.
The list of diseases that qualify patients for cannabis oil includes end stage cancer, seizure disorders, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, sickle-cell anemia, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.
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