Article by Deepak Anand, Lift News
Quebec’s college of pharmacists, the L’Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ), presented their position on the province’s cannabis Bill 157 to the Quebec Commission on Health and Social Services yesterday as part of the government’s ongoing hearings from stakeholders. While most of their recommendations focus on provincial recreational cannabis legislation, the college was keen to communicate an important message regarding cannabis used for medical purposes: people who are prescribed such treatment must be able to benefit from the services pharmacists provide.
It was interesting in light of my previous article, which shows how amendments to the federal legislation (C-45) would allow medical cannabis to be distributed through Canadian pharmacies, rather than through the current mail order channels direct from licensed producers. The OPQ wants pharmacists to be entrusted with the distribution of therapeutic cannabis to 6300+ current registrants in the province, under certain conditions, to ensure that users receive care from a regulated professional – subject to a professional inspection mechanism, a code of ethics, respect for confidentiality and with resources to complete analysis of drug therapy.
“This position statement is the result of a long reflection,” said Bertrand Bolduc, president of the OPQ. He said they arrived at the conclusion that, despite the special status of medical cannabis, patients who use it are not different from the users of any other drug. “That is why we are asking the Quebec government to accompany us in representations for an amendment to the federal regulation.”
Here are the highlights from yesterday’s announcement:
Formal ban on the sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes by a pharmacist
The OPQ says pharmacists should not be involved in the production or sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes. The college also requests that cannabis for non-medical purposes be subject to the same framework as tobacco, including the rules on advertising, but also the prohibition of sales in businesses adjacent to pharmacies.
Clear information and service corridors
The use of non-medical cannabis is not without risk, especially for people who suffer from health problems. In this sense, the OPQ recommends consumers be made aware of possible drug interactions and contraindications related to its consumption. In addition, the college asked that pharmacists have access to service corridors to direct patients with signs of psychosis or who need addiction support. “It should be avoided that patients who have such needs end up in the emergency,” Bolduc said.
Maintaining the ban on homegrown culture: unreserved support
The OPQ supports the government’s intention to maintain a ban on non-medical cannabis cultivation at home.
“In Colorado, the number of pediatric emergency visits for cannabis intoxication doubled after legalization, and a 34 per cent increase in cases referred to the poison control center was noted,” reads the OPQ’s announcement. ”Whether access to a plant or processed products, the more access to minors, the greater the risk of intoxication increase.”