Top Canadian Pharmacy Exec. Wants to Dispense Medical Cannabis

The top executive of one of Canada’s largest pharmacy and grocery chains wants in on the nation’s medical marijuana market, according to The Toronto Star.

Galen G. Weston, president and executive chairman of Loblaws, said Thursday that Canada’s pharmacists are well-positioned for safely dispensing a controlled substance like cannabis.

“We’re an industry that is extremely effective at managing controlled substances,” he said. “It gives pharmacists the opportunity to work directly in real time with patients as opposed to doing it through the mail, working on their doses and making sure it actually has the therapeutic effect that it is intended to have.” If it were allowed, Loblaws would offer medicinal cannabis to patients with a doctors’ prescription, Weston said.

Pharmacists would provide a much more personal interaction with patients than the current online and mail delivery system, Weston said, though he admits to seeing no “safety or credibility” issues with the current system.

Loblaws isn’t lobbying the federal government in Ottawa to make changes, however. Rather, it is supporting a move by The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada to do so. The organization is alarmed by what it calls a “lack of clinical oversight” in Canada’s current medical marijuana program, and argues that pharmacies should play a more central role in the dispensing of cannabis.

Ottawa has announced it is considering changes to the program, which are likely to be finalized sometime in August.

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