Group Advocates for Pharmacists to Dispense Medical Cannabis
With their academic and professional expertise and their logistical resources, pharmacists should be part of the medical cannabis dispensing model, according to the Coalition of Concerned Pharmacists and Citizens, a grassroots advocacy group based in Fort Walton Beach. Pharmacists graduating today earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree—a postgraduate degree that requires a minimum of six years of college to complete, with some programs requiring eight years. That’s more medication-related education and training than any other healthcare provider. And nearly 95 percent of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, says Roz Hill, event coordinator for the CCPC.
“Pharmacists are well-positioned and -qualified to help increase access and lower costs by providing the expertise required to make medical cannabis safe and effective,” Hill says. “So why have they been left out of the dispensing model?”
The CCPC advocates for a more traditional approach to dispensing medical cannabis, which includes privacy, counseling and HIPPA compliance.
“Pharmacists can immediately adapt to dispensing medical cannabis,” Hill says. “They have the database interface and software needed to research medical information. They are already in the healthcare
loop, reporting to the DEA, CDC, FDA, DOH and others by maintaining records such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, inventories, narcotics or controlled drugs. They are already licensed and accredited, and patients trust them.”
The CCPC is encouraging Floridians to support pharmacists’ inclusion in the medical cannabis system by calling, emailing, tweeting and writing to Attorney General Pam Bodi and Governor Rick Scott, as well as state legislators, city councils and county commissions.