Independent pharmacies receiving threatening letters from DEA about selling medical marijuana

ATLANTA — The DEA is warning Georgia’s independent pharmacies not to even think about selling medical marijuana.

That threat of criminal prosecution comes after the state created rules allowing pharmacies to dispense low-dose THC as a medical therapy.

The owner of Little Five Points Pharmacy told Channel 2′s Tom Regan that he’s gotten a bunch of calls and emails asking when he will be dispensing medical marijuana.

After the letter he got the other day from the DEA, it probably won’t be anytime soon.

Veteran pharmacist Ira Katz believes low-dose THC can help people suffering from epilepsy and chronic pain.

He said it’s a promising alternative to highly addictive pain-killing drugs.

“If we can get patients off the high doses of these opioids with the help of the low THC, and monitor these patients because we know it works, we know it helps,” Katz said.

Katz told Regan that he recently applied to dispense low-dose THC drops and other medical marijuana therapies.


But things changed last week when he got a threatening letter from the DEA. It reiterated that marijuana -- even low-dose THC -- is illegal at the federal level.

“Neither marijuana nor THC can lawfully be possessed, handled, or dispensed by any DEA-registered pharmacy,” the letter said.

“Hydro cannabidiols, low THC, they are all classified as a Class 1 (drug) along with heroin and opium, which sounds ridiculous, but that’s the case,” Katz said.

Some 30,000 people in Georgia are authorized to use medical marijuana but only a few dispensaries in the state sell it.

Katz said it should be more accessible and independent pharmacists, who often know their customer’s medical and prescription history, are ideal providers for low-dose THC.

“The state recognizes the value that independent pharmacies have. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice and the DEA don’t recognize how important that is,” Katz said.

Katz told Regan that the Georgia Pharmacy Association is working with federal lawmakers to try to persuade the DEA to reclassify medical marijuana so it can be dispensed at independent pharmacies in Georgia.