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Georgia Medical Cannabis Patients Can Now Purchase Cannabis Oil From Pharmacies

Mary Ekundayo

by Mary Ekundayo

July 26, 2023 12:00 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Georgia Medical Cannabis Patients Can Now Purchase Cannabis Oil From Pharmacies

Georgia medical cannabis patients will soon have greater access to treatment as cannabis oil will be sold in many more pharmacies.

The Georgia State Board of Pharmacy recently made the decision to endorse more cannabis oil sale outlets. Eligible patients registered with the state’s Department of Public Health can purchase cannabis oil from Georgia’s independent pharmacies.

As reported by Northwest Georgia News, the state’s pharmacy board “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.”

So far, two companies have been granted manufacturing licenses, Trulieve Georgia and Botanical Sciences LLC. They’ve started producing the oil and have opened outlets in Marietta and Macon. So far, they have served over 27,000 registered marijuana patients in the state.

The Haleigh’s Hope Act and Georgia’s Hope Act

Back in 2015, regulators in Georgia first legalized medical cannabis use by passing the Haleigh’s Hope Act. Eligible patients were granted access to low-THC marijuana oil.

In 2019, Georgia’s General Assembly passed Georgia’s Hope Act, which legalized the regulated cultivation of marijuana in the State. Its conversion into low-THC cannabis oil also allowed for treating many diseases. Northwest Georgia News also revealed, “Separate from those dispensaries, the 2019 law also authorizes independent pharmacies to sell cannabis oil to eligible patients.”

An excerpt from the bill stated:

“The establishment of the Low THC Oil Patient Registry in 2015 allows Georgia patients to possess low THC oil but provides no way to access low THC oil. The General Assembly finds that thousands of Georgians have serious medical conditions that can be improved by the medically approved use of cannabis and that the law should not stand between them and treatment necessary for life and health.”

The General Assembly explained that the Act would “allow the legitimate use of medical cannabis for health care, including palliative care.” They also clarified that the Act does not oppose the state’s strong stance against illegal drug use. The Act does not “advocate, authorize, promote, or legally or socially accept the use of marijuana for children or adults for any non-medical use.”

Conditions That Qualify Georgia Medical Cannabis Patients

Georgia medical cannabis patients must be diagnosed with one of the following diseases to qualify for the low THC Oil Registry, according to Georgia’s Department of Public Health.

  • Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma-related head injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Mitochondrial disease
  • Parkinson’s disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Tourette’s syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe
  • Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) the patient is 18 years of age or more, or (b) the patient is less than 18 years of age and diagnosed with severe autism
  • Epidermolysis bullosa
  • Alzheimer’s disease, when such disease is severe or end stage
  • AIDS when such syndrome is severe or end stage
  • Peripheral neuropathy, when symptoms are severe or end stage
  • The patient is in a hospice program, either as an inpatient or outpatient
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least 18 years of age

However, thousands of eligible patients couldn’t access cannabis oil until two approved dispensaries owned by Trulieve started operation.
Kim Rivers, the CEO of Trulieve, spoke in a press release after the dispensaries were opened. She said, “We believe that access to medical cannabis improves lives, and Trulieve is proud to be the first to provide that access to the state of Georgia. We look forward to providing high-quality products and an elite experience.”

Ongoing Positive Interest: What to Expect

More than 100 out of the 700 independent pharmacies in Georgia have expressed their support for the new development. Andrew Turnage, the executive director of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, spoke on this fact. He said that “This gives an opportunity for virtually every community to have access.” He also explained that the rules to be adopted would “Set a pathway for independent pharmacies to apply and subject these pharmacies to inspection and regulation for this medicine.”

On the 14th of June, Georgia’s Pharmacy Board held a hearing as regards the proposed rules. And Turnage has hinted that the regulation would be formalized soon. The first batch of authorized pharmaceutical retailers is expected to start selling between late August and early September.

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