A group of Ontario nursing homes has inked an exclusive supply agreement with WeedMD, a licensed supplier of medical marijuana.

WeedMD has announced it will be the “preferred supplier” of cannabis oil to three long-term care and retirement home operators in the province, including People Care Communities. The deal will cover more than 1,000 long-term care beds in southwestern Ontario, Belleville and Kingston.

"Every day, seniors are taking a closer look at the benefits of cannabis to decrease the use of conventional drug therapies," said Bruce Dawson-Scully of WeedMD, which has a grow facility in Aylmer, ON.

NDP health critic France Gélinas, however, has expressed concern that the deal benefits the supplier more than it does the seniors.

"[The supplier's] primary goal is to make money," she said. "Is it really a choice? One provider will have a very big competitive advantage compared to every other provider because the home will do the work if you buy from one provider and leave you to yourself if you don't."

But Dawson-Scully said seniors won’t be prohibited from purchasing cannabis from another supplier.

"If a resident said 'We want to go with your competitor,' that won't be held up by the home or us," he said.

Regardless, the seniors will still need a prescription to buy the cannabis for medical reasons.

Andrea Brissette, vice president of care and services at People Care, said the deal is largely about educating the seniors and staff about how to acquire cannabis and use it properly.

"If a resident chooses to use medical cannabis, we would still have to administrate it,” she said. “So, we need to make sure our registered staff and leaders in the home are educated on the product.”

h/t CBC News