At this point, well over half the country has legalized cannabis in some form or another. Whether for medical, recreational or combined purposes, nearly three-dozen states plus Washington, DC now have legalized marijuana programs, making it easier for medical patients and many citizens alike to get the relief they need.
At Whole Leaf Medical Dispensary and CBD, we’re proud to offer a wide range of medical marijuana formats to our patients under Oklahoma law, from primary flower formats to edible cannabis, tincture formats and others. So why, you might be wondering, are these materials not available at your standard pharmacy or corner store? Well, there are a few reasons, each of which we’ll go over here.
The primary reason why you still see limitations on the places where medical marijuana is sold in states where it’s been legalized: Because despite these state laws, medical cannabis remains illegal under federal law. It is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it cannot be prescribed by physicians or dispensed by pharmacies.
As we’ll get to in a bit, there are obvious areas where this federal law isn’t the one that’s followed entirely. But for pharmacies, all of which are licensed by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, this isn’t quite as simple. Combined with issues regarding state regulations for labeling, dosage and contaminant testing, it could be a while before we begin to see pharmacies selling medical marijuana, even in states where such programs have been active for decades.
As we noted above, due to generally relaxed enforcement standards at the federal level, states with legalized programs can generally operate free of concern based on their own laws passed. This is why dispensaries like Whole Leaf are able to continue serving Oklahoma residents, for instance.
Once again, though, this is a bit more complex for pharmacies given their nature. Even in states with legalization programs, the use of medical cannabis is still prohibited in purchasing locations – generally it is restricted to homes and other private locations. If a patient has an accident and has to spend time in a hospital or rehab facility, for instance, they will not be legally allowed to use their cannabis medication in these places.
So what if this happens to a patient who uses medical cannabis for a serious condition like epilepsy, and their lack of medication causes a seizure with major negative outcomes? Who is responsible for this lack of medication? Pharmacists around the country are terrified of this sort of hypothetical, and it’s another reason they don’t have medical marijuana programs.
Now, just because pharmacies themselves don’t sell medical marijuana doesn’t meant that the products sold in other locations lack medical backing or expertise. For starters, there are several groups licensed as experts in this field who are not pharmacists. For another, several states, including Arkansas, New York, Minnesota and others, have required that board-certified pharmacists be present in dispensaries for the sale of such products. This trend is on the rise and is likely to expand to several other states in the near future.
For more on why you won’t find medical cannabis in pharmacies, or to learn about any of our medical dispensary services, speak to the staff at Whole Leaf Medical Dispensary and CBD today.