In a move seemingly rooted in pure optimism, Shoppers Drug Mart has posted a vacancy for a medical marijuana brand manager.
While Canadian pharmacies have been lobbying to become distributors of medical marijuana ever since plans for nationwide recreational cannabis legalization were first unveiled, current regulations only allow marijuana to be distributed via mail order from licensed producers.
In other words, unless Ottawa revises the rules, no pharmacy can distribute marijuana. And yet, according to a job posting on the website of Canada’s largest pharmacy:
"The development and integration of the medical brand plan will involve the consideration of the current cannabis market; legislation, regulations and access challenges," the posting reads.
The role will also entail leading strategy and marketing activities directed at doctors and health-care providers in the cannabis space, the posting continues.
This latest bold move comes after Loblaw Companies Ltd. – Shoppers Drug Mart’s parent company – applied for a license from Health Canada to dispense medical marijuana in the fall of 2016.
Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas told the Canadian Press that the company wants to be prepared in case the federal government hands them the reins of the medical stream once recreational legalization rolls out next July.
"As the federal and provincial governments finalize their respective cannabis frameworks, we remain optimistic that they will allow pharmacists to apply their professional care to medical cannabis patients," said Thomas.
Loblaw isn’t the only company trying to get its foot in the door in terms of marijuana distribution through pharmacies.
Licensed producer Maricann Group Inc. has entered into a letter of intent to be the exclusive medical cannabis provider for Lovell Drug Limited. In collaboration with pharmacy officials, Maricann will also develop product and patient education materials, dosing protocols and information on cannabis strains and their interactions with other medications.
“Every day there are patients in pharmacies asking for information about medical marijuana, and most pharmacists are not effectively trained [to answer them],” Terry Fretz, the president of Maricann, told Civilized in an interview this September.
“Pharmacists have the intellectual capacity, the professional capacity, and the presence in all towns and cities large and small coast to coast, to be able to effectively satisfy what patients are looking for.”
Earlier this year, licensed producer CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. signed its own letter of intent with PharmaChoice. Through this agreement, CanniMed would train PharmaChoice pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and become the company’s exclusive medical marijuana distributor.
The companies say this deal is on hold, however, until the passing of legislation that allows pharmacies to distribute medical marijuana.
h/t Canadian Press