Though “medical marijuana” is legal in 28 states and one district in the U.S., cannabis isn’t treated like any other medicine. You don’t get it at the drugstore, from a pharmacist in a lab coat. You get it from the dispensary that cards you at the door, from an employee who’s often-as-not blazed and in tie-dye.
But soon these two opposite ends of the medicine-dispensing world will meet. A bill passed in Mississippi on Thursday will permit pharmacists in the state to not only dispense, but manufacture their own cannabis oil, as reported by the Clarion Ledger.
The measure, as you might expect, restricts the extract being made and distributed by pharmacists to cannabidiol (CBD) oil. It expands on legislation passed in 2014, which legalized the use of CBD oil to treat children suffering from epileptic seizures.
Called Harper Grace’s Law, the 2014 bill was named after two year-old Harper Grace Duval, who’s afflicted with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.
While the 2014 bill only permitted for the pharmacy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to manufacture or dispense CBD oil, the new addendum will allow this ability to spread. “Other pharmacies will be able to compound this,” said Rep. Brent Powell when presenting the legislation on the House floor.
When questioned by another representative about how long it would be before this measure would begin to take effect, Powell replied that, “It is a slow process.”
The bill still needs the approval of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, which, seeing as he previously approved the 2014 measure, isn’t that big a hurdle. The real obstacle is federal approval for the UMMC’s research.
The university’s Pediatric Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow treatment of a handful of epileptic children with CBD oil. The center is still waiting to hear back from the federal agency.
Upon approval of the research, the ability of Mississippi pharmacies to become de facto dispensaries will go into effect.