Under the current Health Canada regulations for medical cannabis, the only method of legal distribution of cannabis is by mail order from licensed producers directly to patients. Health Canada has updated its list of authorized cannabis sellers and producers, according to which, the pharmacy can sell dried and fresh cannabis, as well as plants, seeds and oil.
According to the website set up by Shoppers Drug Mart, company patients “with a valid medical document will soon be able to purchase a wide selection of medical cannabis products” from Shoppers. In addition, the website says the company plans offer “a wide selection of medical cannabis products that meet strict quality and safety standards…delivered discreetly, right to their doorstep.”
It is still unclear when Shoppers Drug Mart can start taking orders for medical cannabis and selling it directly to patients. According to a statement released by Loblaw Companies Ltd, Shoppers’ parent company, there is currently “a technical issue in the approvals process with Health Canada.”
Shoppers Drug Mart was granted a medical cannabis producer licence in September 2018, after initially applying in October 2016. Currently the only way to distribute medical cannabis legally is to first obtain the approval to be a licensed producer, even though Shopper’s has said from the beginning of the process that they had no interest in producing medical cannabis.
“As trusted medication experts, we believe pharmacists have an important role to play in the safe and informed use of medical cannabis, and this is the first step in our journey to provide medical cannabis to our patients” said Loblaw Companies Ltd. (Shopper’s parent company) spokeswoman Catherine Thomas in Sept. 2018 when they received their licensed producer approval.
The pharmacy chain has already set up supply deals with some big producers of cannabis who have been licensed in Canada such as Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc, MedReleaf Corp., and Tilray Inc.
Shoppers has continued its plan to become a relevant player in the medical cannabis industry this year by starting to give seminars to doctors and pharmacists with information about cannabis and its use with patients, covered here by DATAC.