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DEA Warns Georgia Pharmacies Against Dispensing Medical Cannabis in Conflict with Federal Law

DEA Warns Georgia Pharmacies Against Dispensing Medical Cannabis in Conflict with Federal Law

In a recent development reported by Atlanta-based news outlet 11Alive, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued warning letters to pharmacies in Georgia, asserting that the sale of medical cannabis products, even in compliance with state law, contradicts federal regulations.

According to the DEA’s Diversion Control Division letter obtained by 11Alive, all DEA registrants, including registered pharmacies, are obligated to adhere to relevant federal laws and regulations. The letter emphasizes that pharmacies, even if DEA-registered, are only permitted to dispense controlled substances falling under Schedules II-V of the Controlled Substances Act. It explicitly states that marijuana and THC cannot be lawfully possessed, handled, or dispensed by any DEA-registered pharmacy.

Despite the issuance of these warning letters, some pharmacies in Georgia initiated the dispensing of low-THC cannabis oils in October, following the enactment of a pioneering state law.

Ira Katz, owner of Little Five Points Pharmacy, voiced his perplexity over the DEA’s stance, stating that the policy “doesn’t make any sense,” especially considering that people can purchase similar products from dispensaries but not pharmacies. Katz, who received a DEA letter, expressed astonishment at the lack of action by the DEA, emphasizing the rigorous regulations pharmacies already adhere to within the healthcare industry.

“We’re the most regulated industry in healthcare. That’s what shocked me,” Katz stated. “That’s what blows me away when it comes to why the DEA is not moving on this. They don’t see what we see here every single day.” He further argued that medical cannabis has the potential to contribute to mitigating the state’s opioid crisis.

As of now, neither the DEA nor the Georgia Board of Pharmacy has provided comments on the content of the letters, leaving the future of medical cannabis dispensing in Georgia pharmacies uncertain.

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