Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest pharmacy chain, has submitted an application to Health Canada to distribute marijuana for medical use.
In a statement, Shoppers Drug Mart Spokesperson Tammy Smitham said that the application they submitted was strictly for distribution and not production of medical marijuana. She says Shoppers Drug Mart wants “the ability to dispense medical marijuana to our patients in conjunction with counselling from a pharmacist.”
Smitham also emphasized that dispensing medical marijuana at Shoppers Drug Mart would increase safety and security for users because of the face-to-face interaction between patient and pharmacist. As of the end of June, there are a total of 75,166 number of medical marijuana clients — a huge market that the Canadian pharmacy giant can tap into.
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Medical marijuana delivery by mail
However, under the current rules, CTV news says that Shoppers Drug Mart’s application does not mean it can sell medical marijuana in stores. Current rules state that registered patients can only purchase cannabis directly from producers. The product is then sent to the clients via mail.
If the Shoppers Drug Mart application goes through and is approved, it would require new or revised rules to allow pharmacists to fill prescriptions in person in retail stores.
Aurora Cannabis (OTCMARKETS:ACBFF) Senior Vice President Cam Battley said that news of Shoppers Drug Mart entering the cannabis arena is, “a clear validation of medical cannabis and a clear indication of massive patient demand.”
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Huge upside in the marijuana market
The economic upside to the marijuana market is huge, estimated to be between $80 and $100 million per year for 45,000 medical marijuana users. Investors have certainly welcomed this, as marijuana stocks continue to register positive gains.
Changes in legislation forthcoming
Although it is known that the Canadian Federal Government’s Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation is expected to report back to the government in November, no one is for sure what the changes will be, although it is anticipated that the changes will cover both medical and recreational marijuana.
Until then, continue to watch this space to see future developments.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Pia Rivera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.