Article by David Brown, Lift News
Shoppers Drug Mart has announced it has entered into an agreement with Aphria for supply of medical cannabis in anticipation of approval of the drug store chain’s application to sell medical cannabis through Health Canada’s ACMPR.
Shoppers applied for a licence through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes regulations in the past in anticipation of expected rule changes to the regulatory regime that would allow sales inside pharmacies. All sales would be online, like any other licensed producer.
After initially opposing cannabis distribution several years ago, the Canadian Pharmacists Association announced in 2016 that they are the best equipped to distribute medical cannabis.
“We have applied to be a licensed producer under Health Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR),” the public relations team at Loblaw told Lift. “We can’t speculate on if or when our application will be approved. Aphria’s announcement relates to our preparations for what will we hope will be our ultimate approval.”
In 2014 Loblaw acquired Shoppers Drug Mart.
“We have been very transparent in our view that pharmacists should play an important role in the safe and informed use of medical cannabis,” continued the Loblaw team. “As the federal and provincial governments finalize their respective cannabis frameworks, we remain optimistic that they will allow pharmacists in stores, in communities to apply their professional care to medical cannabis patients.”
Changes to Canada’s existing medical cannabis regime, the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) are expected to include pharmacy distribution in the future. Major chains like Shoppers Drug Mart and PharmaChoice have announced their intentions.
However, there has been opposition from others, which has held back the inclusion of pharmacy sales in the existing medical cannabis regulations.
In July, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) said pharmacy practitioners must not be involved in the distribution of cannabis for nonmedical purposes, and that pharmacies may not use the term ‘dispensary’ or the ‘green cross’ often associated with cannabis dispensaries.