UNITED STATES NEWS

Federal agency quashes Georgia’s plan to let pharmacies sell medical marijuana

Dec 17, 2023, 10:34 AM

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal drug officials are warning Georgia to shelve its plans to be the first state to allow pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana products.

News outlets report that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Nov. 27 warned pharmacies that dispensing medical marijuana violates federal law.

The Georgia Board of Pharmacy began accepting applications to dispense the products in October. Licenses have already been issued to 23 Georgia independent pharmacies, the board said.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, which oversees Georgia’s fledgling medical marijuana industry, said it can’t override the federal directive, even though pharmacies are allowed to dispense the products under state law.

Andrew Turnage, the commission’s executive director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the state would love to see pharmacists be allowed to continue providing consultations for medical cannabis products as they do with other medication.

In a memo to pharmacies, the DEA said none of them can lawfully possess, handle or dispense marijuana or related products containing more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol — the psychoactive chemical known as THC that gives users a high.

Georgia lets patients with medical needs buy medical marijuana products with up to 5% THC. Marijuana sold for recreational use typically has a higher level.

The DEA said it considers products derived from the cannabis plant with a THC content above 0.3% to be marijuana, making it illegal under federal drug law.

Georgia has allowed patients with certain illnesses and physician approval to possess and consume low-THC medical cannabis products since 2015. But until April, there was no legal way for them to buy the product in Georgia.

Nationwide, 24 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 23 allow some form of medical cannabis.

The recent DEA notice was published online by the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which generally opposes marijuana legalization.

Ira Katz of Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta told WXIA-TV that he thought pharmacies like his should able to dispense the products in the same way marijuana dispensaries do.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to me that people can go to a dispensary and not to a pharmacy,” he said. “We would be buying it from the same growers.”

Mahlon Davidson, interim CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, said he doubted independent pharmacists would risk imperiling their businesses by flouting the DEA.

“The current conflict between state and federal law puts Georgia’s pharmacies in a difficult position,” the Georgia Pharmacy Association wrote in a letter to pharmacists, adding that the association is “putting forth the maximum effort to help provide timely information and assist in navigating this issue.”

Those who oppose rapid legalization of marijuana said the DEA’s stance will protect consumers and allow time for more research.

Michael Mumper, the executive director of the nonprofit Georgians for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said consumers trust that drugs dispensed from pharmacies are fully tested, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and federally legal. Mumper said that’s not the case with medical marijuana.

But the federal stance could change if a recent proposal to loosen restrictions on marijuana goes through. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August proposed taking marijuana off the banned list of Schedule I substances and reclassifying it as a lower-risk Schedule III drug.

United States News

Associated Press

Southern New Mexico wildfire leads to evacuation of village of 7,000

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a village in southern New Mexico were ordered to flee their homes Monday without taking time to grab any belongings due to a fast-moving wildfire. “GO NOW: Do not attempt to gather belongings or protect your home. Evacuate immediately,” officials with Ruidoso, a village home to 7,000 people, said […]

3 hours ago

A sign outside the Internal Revenue Service building is seen, May 4, 2021, in Washington. The gover...

Associated Press

The IRS plans to end another major tax loophole for the wealthy, could raise $50 billion in revenue

The Internal Revenue Service plans to end another major tax loophole that could raise more than $50 billion in revenue over the next decade.

6 hours ago

President Joe Biden meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office at the Wh...

Associated Press

President Biden to announce deportation protection and work permits for those married to US citizens

President Biden is planning to announce a sweeping new policy that would lift the threat of deportation for those married to U.S. citizens.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Former GOP Rep. George Nethercutt, who defeated House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994, dies at 79

SEATTLE (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, who was a Spokane lawyer with little political experience when he ousted Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley as part of a stunning GOP wave that shifted national politics to the right in 1994, has died. He was 79. Nethercutt died Friday near Denver of progressive […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Convicted killer of California college student Kristin Smart ordered to pay $350k in restitution

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A California judge ruled Monday that a man convicted of killing 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart in 1996 must pay just over $350,000 to her family for costs they incurred after her death. Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe ordered Paul Flores to make the payments after a […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Central African Republic faces increased rebel activity and spillover from Sudan war, UN experts say

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Activities of armed groups in the volatile Central African Republic have increased, complicating a security landscape that has seen a spillover of the conflict in neighboring Sudan, U.N. experts warn in a new report. The panel of experts cite confirmed reports of air raids by the Sudanese military around border areas […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Federal agency quashes Georgia’s plan to let pharmacies sell medical marijuana