Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart seeks to distribute Medical Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on October 28, 2016.

Aiming to play a major role in the growing marijuana industry in the country, Canada’s largest pharmacy chain ‘Shoppers Drug Mart’ on Tuesday applied to Health Canada for a license to distribute medical marijuana to patients with a prescription.

In a statement, Shoppers Drug Mart spokesperson Tammy Smitham said the company has officially applied to be a licensed producer of marijuana. The company intends only to distribute marijuana, not grow it.

We believe that allowing medical marijuana to be dispensed through pharmacy would increase access, safety, quality and security for the thousands of Canadians who use the drug as part of their medication therapy,” Smitham said. “We are hopeful that the Government of Canada will embrace that opportunity for enhanced patient care.”

Shoppers’ filing of paperwork comes five months after the head of Shoppers parent Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Galen Weston, voiced his support of allowing pharmacies to distribute medical marijuana

The federal rule allows marijuana producers to sell the drug by mail, or for patients to grow their own, or designate someone to grow it for them. And, the registered patients are only able to buy medical marijuana from licensed producers, though more than 75,000 Canadians participate in the national government’s medical marijuana program as of June 30.

More importantly, even if the Shoppers Drug Mart's application is approved, the largest pharmacy chain of the country couldn’t sell medical marijuana at its 1,700 locations, unless Ottawa revises the marijuana rules.

However, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has its doubts about medical marijuana. “The CMA still believes there is insufficient scientific evidence available to support the use of marijuana for clinical purposes,” the organization said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has said the Liberals will move forward with legalization of marijuana in the spring of 2017.

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