CBC has reported that Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s largest chain of over 1,200 pharmacy locations, has applied to Health Canada to become a licensed cannabis producer.

Spokesperson Tammy Smitham said that Shoppers applied solely to distribute cannabis and not grow it.

“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,” Smitham said.

Pharmacy groups, including Shoppers, have come forward over the last year saying that they are best suited to handle the retail sales of medical cannabis, a point contested by the country’s licensed producers.

Pharmacies have been lobbying government over the past several years for revisions to the recently updated Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations to include provisions to allow the group into the medical cannabis system.

The government ultimately opted not to include pharmacies, saying that the delivery system would be considered in the future.

The Canadian Pharmacists Association released a statement following the ACMPR announcement stating their disappointment that the government had missed  “an important opportunity to improve patient access and safety through pharmacist management and dispensing of medical marijuana.”

The same group then presented to the federally appointed legalization task force on cannabis, once again pressing for pharmacy sales of cannabis.

“Management and dispensing by pharmacists is in the best interest of patient safety,” their presentation read.
In addition to providing secure and safe access to medications, pharmacists have the necessary expertise to mitigate the potential risks associated with medical marijuana, including harmful drug interactions, contraindications, and potential addictive behaviour.”

Without express legislation to allow pharmacies the ability to sell, applying to become a licensed producer is the only avenue the businesses have to enter the market.

“As we have indicated in the past 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,” Shoppers Drug Mart said.

As Shoppers has stated they won’t be producing cannabis themselves, its unclear what their business model for cannabis will look like if their application is successful.

A recent poll of Canadians found that the majority favoured cannabis be sold in dispensaries, with the second highest group preferring pharmacies.

It’s unknown how long it may take for the pharmacy’s application to be approved, if at all. Since the first license to become a medical cannabis producer was issued in 2013, only 36 have been given out. 

As of Aug. 1, 2016 1561 applications had been sent to Health Canada, with 801 of those returned, 253 refused, 54 withdrawn and 419 in progress.



  • andy

    Shouldn’t the title say licensed distributor instead of producer? Big difference Dumb-Ass.!

    I would welcome the chance to write and get submitted a story of my own that uses true facts and not shifting words.

    I really don’t like it when someone writes a story that is misleading to at minimum and then some. Check your facts first.
    This is how we as a nation and world to some extent got into the mess in the first place. Thru misleading semi-news and corruption against humanity. You would make Nixon and his DEA agents proud for getting a story published that wasn’t true.

    • https://cannabislifenetwork.com Brent Constantin

      There is currently no process to become a “licensed distributor” in Canada.
      Despite whatever Shopper’s long-term plans will be regarding cannabis, they are applying to become a licensed producer, as detailed here.

      Please send your submissions to editor@cannabislifenetwork.com

  • bob

    the only way these kinds of money grubbers will be able to get into the market is if HC starts paying for all MJ medicine and as to get there is a long road of trials and proofs…we can only hope it never happens as to pay these kind of businesses only costs all tax payers more as public money goes to pay all these folks and so they jack the costs and such into the stratosphere especially the Pharma Companies…

    the pharmacists that work there know nothing of MJ and possible interactions with other drugs….quality will be determined by the grower and the kind of corporate growers these would be have proven to be bad growers….same as corporate farms that produce low quality food…

    can go around a lot about all the cons in this concept

    but these people have no right to be involved…

    the goodies should go to those that proved the medicine while those that hope to cash in were busy trying to put a kibosh into it,,,,,

  • Anthony

    More GMO NWO genetic terrorism.