Shoppers Drug Mart – A truly Canadian drugstore
Canada’s largest pharmacy chain has formally applied to be a distributor of medical marijuana.
“We have applied to be a licensed producer strictly for the purposes of distributing medical marijuana,” Shoppers Drug Mart spokeswoman Tammy Smitham told CBC News in an email Tuesday.
“We have no intention of producing medical marijuana, but we do want the ability to dispense medical marijuana to our patients in conjunction with counselling from a pharmacist.”
The move is the next step in a logical progression for the chain, which earlier this year was looking into the possibility of entering the burgeoning business.
At a Shoppers drug mart location in downtown Toronto, shopper Shannon Lang was surprised by the decision. “It seems very off brand,” she said. “It’s got a pharmacy so kind of I guess it’s OK [but] it just seems a little weird.”
According to the latest government data, more than 75,000 Canadians had valid prescriptions for medical marijuana at the end of June — a figure that has tripled in the past year — and they had purchased a total of more than 4,000 kilograms of dried marijuana in the previous three months. That works out to a little less than a gram of pot per day, per person.
Ottawa is in the midst of updating the laws surrounding the drug, including possibly legalizing it in a limited fashion for recreational use.
The previous government prohibited people with a valid prescription from producing medical marijuana themselves, requiring them instead to order it from a licensed producer, who would deliver it via the mail.