Georgia Pharmacies Become First in Nation to Dispense Medical Marijuana

Georgia lawmakers were late joining the cohort of states across the country to make medical marijuana available to patients suffering from a myriad of painful maladies and acute conditions which can be eased by access to cannabis and medical marijuana, but they are rapidly catching up to more progressive states across the nation where medical marijuana and recreational marijuana have been legalized.

Georgia, and by default Atlanta, are slated for firsts in the medical marijuana space – both will be the first to distribute the cannabis derivative in more than 400 pharmacies with the exception of CVS and Walgreens. The historic move puts Georgia, which has traditionally been more rigid and restrictive than other states regarding medical marijuana at the forefront of the most progressive in the nation.

The Georgia Board of Pharmacy to date has accepted more than 120 applications to provide the product to patients in need.

According to patients, their necessity for easier access to medically-approved marijuana makes this regulation a step in the right direction, especially for a southern state. Across the nation, marijuana distribution and usage has been disproportionately impacting Black and Brown people the most, but this new distribution will continue to dismantle the racist criminal history of the drug.

The state’s only two licensed cannabis producers, Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Cannabis Corp. would provide the pharmacies with products. The two were the first in Georgia to get the green light earlier this year to serve registered medical cannabis patients.

Medical marijuana has been dispensed in Georgia via a limited medical marijuana program, although there are only seven dispensaries around the state. The use of medical marijuana is allowed for specific qualifying conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and certain forms of cancer. Patients with these conditions could apply for a Low THC Oil Registry Card.

Instead of allowing medical marijuana in its traditional form, Georgia permits the use of “low THC oil.” This oil contains low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high levels of cannabidiol (CBD). Patients can possess and use low-THC oil if they have a valid Low THC Oil Registry Card.

Access to medical marijuana products was limited in Georgia. Patients could not legally purchase or produce their own low-THC oil in the state. However, some licensed dispensaries were authorized to sell low-THC oil to registered patients.

Patients interested in obtaining a Low THC Oil Registry Card would need to get a recommendation from a qualified physician who was registered with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The possession, use, or distribution of marijuana for recreational purposes remains illegal in Georgia. Possession of marijuana products with a higher THC content, not covered under the low THC oil program is still illegal.

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