ATLANTA–News outlet CNN reported today that a spokesperson for Rite Aid Drug Stores said the national pharmacy store chain is ready to sell cannabis-based drug Epidiolex, as soon as the Drug Enforcement Administration reschedules cannabis from its status as a Schedule 1 narcotic.
“Rite Aid pharmacists fill prescriptions in accordance with all state regulations and laws as well as those set forth by the DEA and FDA,” Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower told CNN. “Given that Epidiolex has received approval from the FDA, upon being rescheduled, Rite Aid expects to fill prescriptions for Epidiolex later this year based on availability.”
If cannabis was rescheduled, it might effectively end federal prohibition for cannabis-based drugs and, at least technically, end the near 100-year long illegal status of cannabis in the U.S.
The reports come after UK-based pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals on Monday received Food and Drug Administration approval for its cannabis-based medication Epidiolex. The drug is comprised of a cannabidiol (CBD) oil formulation developed to specifically treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome, two forms of extreme epilepsy that effect young children. It is the first-ever cannabis-based drug to receive FDA approval.
Representatives from other major drug store chains including Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart did not respond to requests for comment, CNN said.
The news outlet reported further that a DEA representative indicated that there are “no plans” to reschedule cannabis, but that individual drugs could receive there own scheduling under federal policy.
As an FDA-approved drug, Epidiolex sales are limited to retailers with pharmacy licenses, which does not include medical cannabis dispensaries. However, conventional pharmacies in the U.S. are not allowed to sell drugs classified as Schedule 1 narcotics by the federal government, even in states with legal medical cannabis laws.
When contacted by mgretailer for comment on Epidiolex availability, GW Pharmaceutical did not respond.