Canadians who are closely following the legalization of marijuana on their home soil know that the biggest question is, where will they be able to get it? The rumour mill has been spinning so fast on this issue; it’s giving the U.S. Debt Clock a run for its money.
Over the last several months, ever since the announcement of an official marijuana task force, big business has been trying to jump the line to become the national distributor of Canada’s sexiest crop.
But there is more than one exciting race to bet on in our legalization landscape. Recreational marijuana is all the rage, but no doubt when retail stores finally sell ganja, the medical marijuana system will need to stay competitive by offering more than snail-mail medicine.
Canada’s largest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, has applied to Health Canada to become a licensed producer of cannabis — a potentially massive disruption to the current model.
Before you start thinking that your local pharmacist will also be out back watering a new crop of Afgooey, think again. In an email to iPolitics, company rep Tammy Smitham said that Shoppers has applied for the license strictly for the purposes of distribution.
The only forces technically competing with Shoppers on the retail medical marijuana landscape would be the dispensaries. Essentially, Shoppers is running unopposed with their application; if approved, the MMJ system in Canada could undergo a massive shakeup. On the other hand, medical cannabis at a national retain chain could change the perception of cannabis in society; only time will tell.
“We have no intention of producing medical marijuana but we do want the ability to dispense medical marijuana to our patients,” Smitham said in her email. “We are hopeful that the Government of Canada will embrace that opportunity for enhanced patient care.”
Shoppers Drug Mart’s biggest competitor, Rexall, has no intention of following suit. They feel there are issues that need to be resolved before they jump into the big green swimming pool.
The marijuana task force is set to present their report next month on how to legalize cannabis across the nation, and the documents they submit may contain modifications to the MMJ industry. The task force will no doubt be the ones bending Trudeau’s ear, but when it comes to world leaders, money talks and big businesses like Shoppers Drug Mart always have a lot to say.
(Image Courtesy CNW Group/Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation)