London Drugs ‘ready’ to dispense marijuana

Vice-president John Tse says their pharmacists have been training for months

London Drugs is looking to be on the forefront of medical marijuana dispensing once Ottawa legalizes it.

A B.C.-based pharmacy chain is itching to be the first in Canada to sell medical marijuana.

London Drugs vice-president John Tse says that the pharmacy has already begun training to pharmacists to dispense marijuana as soon as regulations are in place. The federal government is expected to introduce legislation on both medical and recreational marijuana in the spring but Tse – who notes that London Drugs is only interested in the medical side – foresees a longer wait time than that before it comes to pharmacy shelves.

“After the legislation comes out there’s still the regulation…. and then there’s provincial governments and each of our colleges of pharmacists need to write regulations to operationalize it,” said Tse.

“We’ll be as fast as the laws allow… but it could happen overnight, we’re that ready.”

London Drugs began training their pharmacists to dispense marijuana nine months ago, Tse said, but noted that how dispensing would work would depend on official word from Ottawa. Shoppers Drug Mart has already announced intentions to dispense medical marijuana.

“We’re interested from the perspective of how does it affect other medication the patient might be on and other health conditions they might have,” Tse said. “As a pharmacy we want it all documented properly so that we can advise patients and other health care professionals.”

Medical marijuana is already legal in Canada but it cannot be sold at a storefront. Some doctors do prescribe it but Tse said that its benefits aren’t well studied.

“We’ve known for a long time that marijuana has benefits for glaucoma and pain management but there hasn’t been a ton of clinical studies on it,” he said. “Studying illegal substances is very difficult so there’s been little investment in this sector.”

Tse believes that with federal approval, financial support for clinical studies will start rolling in.

Sourcing safe marijuana and ensuring correct THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) amounts in different strains is an issue that will have to be dealt with before the pharmacy can begin to purchase.

Tse says that London Drugs will purchase marijuana only from federally licensed cannibis producers and that the pharmacy chain will only purchase if conditions are right.

“It’s not overly difficult to grow but what are the growing conditions like? Is there mold or pesticides… chemical compounds can be varied by different strains.”

They’ve already begun discussions with pot producers to lay the groundwork of setting up a supply chain.

“I have engaged with some already in anticipation of when it is legalized,” said Tse, adding that he was impressed with the production quality of the producers he met with.

 

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Police seek man wanted for assault

Queen Charlotte RCMP are asking for help finding a man wanted for… Continue reading

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Most Read