New Regulations Would Turn Pharmacies into Pot Shops Without Community Input

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Despite the longstanding position of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which maintain that marijuana is a Schedule I drug that does not have any widely accepted medical use, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia Board of Pharmacy’s could soon enact new regulations that would allow over 100 independent pharmacies to become akin to illicit drug dealers overnight.

In an open letter to Governor Kemp, Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton and the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action), called on Governor Kemp to reject the Georgia Board of Pharmacy’s rules changes that would be “dangerous and confusing for consumers” and called on the Governor to affirm federal law.

“Federal law is clear – sales of marijuana and non-prescription THC drugs are illegal. The Georgia Pharmacy Board’s actions are in opposition to the position of every major medical association, Surgeons General appointed by both parties, the FDA, and the DEA,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. 

“The FDA has been very clear that it does not endorse or verify any of the claims made about marijuana or cannabis-derived oils, except for a very select and limited number of prescription drugs. By moving to sell THC oils over the counter in drugstores, it implies an FDA endorsement of these dangerous, psychoactive products that can have very serious consequences for users, especially young people. I strongly urge Governor Kemp to look at the data and the science and reject these rule changes,” Sabet stated.

As SAM noted in its letter, the rules passed by the Georgia Board of Pharmacies “would make Georgia the only state in the nation to allow independent pharmacies to sell THC oils.” The letter also notes that, “unlike with prescription medications, consumers of this THC oil could get different doses of THC depending on the batch, they could be exposed to unhealthy levels of pesticides, have a greater risk of contamination, and there exists no body that is charged with the assembly of any adverse effects on consumers.”

“Scientific data increasingly links THC use with depression, IQ loss, suicidality, psychosis, and schizophrenia. This is especially true for young people whose brains are still developing. By enacting these dangerous changes, Georgia’s Pharmacy Board is putting Georgians at risk of taking unregulated, illicit drugs. Given the data on everything from drugged driving to increases in marijuana use disorder, allowing these rule changes to move forward would be irresponsible,” Sabet said.