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Medical Marijuana And Pharmacies

Medical Marijuana And Pharmacies

Medical Marijuana and PharmaciesMedical marijuana is certainly in the news a lot these days. Yet many pharmacists and entrepreneurs are asking a very significant question: How does medical marijuana and cannabis relate to pharmacies? Many point out that the medical marijuana is being used as a treatment for several medical conditions and should therefor be dispensed by pharmacies and its use overseen by a healthcare professional such as a pharmacist. Whatever our personal views are on this issue, the fact is that the use of marijuana for medical purposes is on the rise and many questions need to be answered on how best to distribute and monitor its use for the safety and welfare of the public in the United States.

The Current Medical Marijuana Rules

It must first be pointed out that on a federal level any use of marijuana is considered illegal and remains prohibited. However, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment that was passed in 2014 severely limited the ability of any federal laws to be enforced in any of the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. Currently the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been legalized in twenty-nine (29) states and the District of Columbia (Washington, DC). Several states allow medical marijuana to be purchased in dispensaries, some allow only cultivation at an individual’s home, and some states allow both.

Medical Marijuana Rules By Individual States

Many consider the current state rules to be very complex and they differ greatly from state to state. For a much more in-depth comparison of each state’s rules concerning legal use of medical marijuana within an individual state, the state-by-state analysis released by the Medical Marijuana Project makes a great resource. For the purpose of this discussion,  let’s look at a breakdown of the “rules” for the 29 states that allow the use of medical marijuana to date:

Fully Legalized –
Rhode Island
District of Columbia (Washington, DC)

Legal Medical Use and Decriminalized –
New York

Legal Medical Use Only –
New Mexico
North Dakota
New Jersey
West Virginia

Decriminalized (but no medical use) –
North Carolina

Use Still Fully Illegal –
South Dakota
South Carolina

Medical Marijuana and Pharmacies

As discussed previously, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is on the rise as more and more states make it legal in some way. Yet questions need to be answered on how best to distribute and monitor its use for the safety and welfare of the general public in the USA.

Currently out of 29 states where medical marijuana is legal there are only three (3) states where the law requires that a registered pharmacist actually performs the dispensing:
– Connecticut
– Minnesota
– New York
Using these three states as an example, only a pharmacist is allowed to actually dispense medical marijuana to patients. In this scenario it is the pharmacist who selects and dispenses the medication for a patient, while the physicians identify who is eligible.

In the meantime many pharmacies are exploring the possibilities of dispensing medical marijuana. An interesting press release was released earlier this week announcing the expected openings of two pharmacies in California that are being classified as “medical marijuana-based pharmacies”. The parent company of Cannabis Science, Inc. (CBIS) is a U.S. company headquartered in Irvine, California and is known for being specialized in the development of cannabis based medications. CBIS announced in their press release that both pharmacies are currently going through the final building inspections required, plus that they are also performing testing of all their systems. This includes their policies and procedures covering all aspects of running the business as a pharmacy – from the inventory to the actual dispensing of products to patients. It will be interesting to see how the business is received by both the community and patients.

The Leading Pharmacy Consulting Firm

We welcome any questions that you may have regarding medical marijuana and pharmacies. Healthcare Consultants is known to be a national leader in pharmacy consulting. Since 1989, our in-house specialists have provided expert guidance across all sectors of the pharmacy industry. We work with businesses of every size – from the corner drug store to national corporations and organizations – with only one goal in mind: to improve your pharmacy’s business operations. Some of the services we most commonly provide include:







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Medical Marijuana in Florida – Policies and Procedures/Pharmacy Consulting

Medical Marijuana in Florida – Policies and Procedures:

Medical marijuana in Florida has been a hot topic since Surterra Therapeutics announced in August that it would open a wellness center and sell cannabis in the USF area of Tampa. Although the company planned only to sell medical marijuana low in THC, the approval by the Florida legislature set the precedent for this in 2014 by stipulating exactly what can be dispensed to cancer patients and patients with seizures who choose to utilize medical marijuana as part of their treatment regimens. It is also important to take note that Surterra Therapeutics plans to distribute a “higher grade” dosage to terminally ill patients after approval of another Florida law passed in early 2016. Surterra partners with Homestead-based Alpha Foliage and is one of 6 Florida approved companies regarding marijuana dispensing (to see the entire list visit the Florida Health Department’s website).

The question of whether to participate in the Medical Marijuana Dispensing Program is not what HCC wants to debate here. It is a fact that the laws have now allowed for this. It is also projected to be greatly expanded, increased and profitable. What HCC wants to stress is that if you choose to participate…. do it right! Obtain Pharmacy Consulting before you begin dispensing. Having Policies & Procedures in place will ensure that problems down the road will be reduced. Everyone agrees that the State will “closely observe” how the dispensing companies control supplies, document and keep records. As HCC has been saying for over 27 years: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Healthcare Consultants is a leading national Pharmacy Consulting company offering expertise in all areas of pharmacy consulting. Known for being one of the nation’s leading pharmacy staffing companies for over two decades, Healthcare Consultants has been in the business of Pharmacy Consulting for over 25 years now. HCC is in the business of helping pharmacists establish, run, improve and make their businesses profitable. HCC is known nationally as one of the industry leaders in providing a full range of professional pharmacy consultation services to its vast array of clients. Owned and operated by pharmacists, Healthcare Consultants can provide proven expertise and experience in all facets of pharmacy operations, including retail, hospital and specialty pharmacy venues.

No matter what your pharmacy consulting needs may be, you can be assured that the experienced HCC staff has helped others with the same issues before. Let HCC and their expert team of pharmacy consultants help you solve your problems too! In today’s environment of a constantly changing landscape in the pharmacy business, let an experienced, proven Pharmacy Consulting company provide you with the assistance you may need. We have a professional full-time staff of pharmacy consultants with a proven track record in every area of pharmacy operations.

Just a few of the pharmacy consulting services that HCC offers include:

– Pharmacy Performance and Efficiency Enhancements
– Pharmacy Business Management Consulting
– Pharmacy Business Planning
– Pharmacy Start-up Consulting and Implementation
– Interim Pharmacy Management
– Policy and Procedure Development and Review
– Compliance Review
– Pharmacy Exit Strategies

If you have questions regarding virtually any area of your pharmacy business or practice, we urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all areas of your business. Call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.




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