Canada’s largest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, has received the go-ahead from Health Canada to produce pot, which will pave the way for that company to dispense medical cannabis to its customers. The license to produce pot, however, doesn’t mean the retailer intends to grow the green stuff. Health Canada’s current regulations stipulate that legal distribution be done by licensed producers. A cannabis sales license from Health Canada is also required to dispense medical marijuana to patients.
Medical marijuana company MedReleaf is in agreement to supply weed to Shoppers Drug Mart, according to the company’s representatives, who say they will supply Canada’s largest pharmacy retailer with MedReleaf cannabis products. Moreover, the pharmacy has signed several supply deals with other licensed medical marijuana producers, including Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc., MedReleaf Corp. and Tilray Inc.
Taking its involvement in the industry a step further, the company also announced in July that it would partner with Manulife Financial Corp. to work on medical marijuana insurance coverage. Under the intended new program, Manulife customers who received medical marijuana prescriptions and coverage will consult with Shoppers pharmacists to find the appropriate strain of medical marijuana.
Pharmacists in Canada have been positioning themselves as potentially playing an important role in the distribution of medical marijuana, as they have the expertise to foresee potential risks associated with medical cannabis, including drug interactions, contraindications, and addictive effects. They also have the existing infrastructure to handle controlled substances, making the fit natural according to many in the industry.