Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., Canada’s largest chain of drugstores, is exploring the possibility of making an early move into the cannabis market. The company, which owns more than 1,300 retail stores throughout the country, has been talking with Canadian marijuana growers who have already been licensed by the government to produce cannabis for medical uses.
These talks have explored the possibility for Shoppers Drug Mart to secure the rights to sell medicinal cannabis produced by these growers in its retail locations.
“Pharmacists are medication experts and play a significant role in the prescribing and monitoring of medication to ensure safe and optimal use,” corporate spokesperson Tammy Smitham told reporters recently.
“We believe that dispensing medical marijuana through pharmacy, like other medications, is the safest option.”
Shoppers Drug Mart has also apparently been working with marijuana suppliers to create a line of cannabis-derived medicine that may eventually carry the Shoppers Drug Mart brand name.
For many experts familiar with the cannabis market, this seems like a logical move, since many physicians might balk at the idea of prescribing something that has to be smoked.
But, these experts argue, if a pharmacy could sell a highly controlled, non-smokable form of cannabis it could fit in well with the other products already being sold.
While large drugstore chains like Shoppers Drug Mart were initially hesitant to consider the idea of becoming involved in the medical cannabis sector, the changing cultural and political tides seem to have won over many corporate executives.
In 2001, Health Canada, the department in charge of the nation’s public health policies, established a two-tiered classification system specifying which health conditions may or may not qualify for access to legal medical marijuana.
And in many parts of the country, marijuana possession has increasingly been decriminalized.
But perhaps the most significant factor currently impacting marijuana law in Canada is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s outspoken support of legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational uses.
After making legalization a key piece of his campaign platform last year, he began issuing official mandates to start the process in earnest.
Earlier this month, however, Trudeau’s plans to legalize marijuana ran into a potential roadblock when economic experts pointed out that legalizing the plant would violate some international treaties stipulating the ongoing criminalization of cannabis.