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Shoppers Drug Mart applies for medical marijuana production license


TORONTO - In what could be a first for a North American drug chain, Shoppers Drug Mart is seeking to distribute medical marijuana, the Canadian retail pharmacy chain announced Tuesday.

"We believe that allowing medical marijuana to be dispensed through pharmacy would increase access, safety, quality and security for the thousands of Canadians who use the drug as part of their medication therapy," Tammy Smitham, VP external communication for Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart, shared with Drug Store News. "We have applied to be a licensed producer strictly for the purposes of distributing medical marijuana. We have no intention of producing medical marijuana but we do want the ability to dispense medical marijuana to our patients in conjunction with counselling from a pharmacist and we are hopeful that the Government of Canada will embrace that opportunity for enhanced patient care."

In Canada, only those entities licensed to produce medical marijuana are legally allowed to sell to the public. And according to Health Canada, there presently are 36 licensed medical marijuana producers across the country.

As of the latest quarterly data ended June 30, there are more than 75,000 Canadians who have registered to buy medical marijuana, up from almost 24,000 who were registered a year ago, representing growth of 214.1%.

According to a report in CBCNews, Ottawa is in the midst of updating the laws surrounding the drug, including possibly legalizing it in a limited fashion for recreational use.

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