Shoppers Drug Mart applies to become a Licensed Cannabis Producer in Canada
Shoppers Drug Mart, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies (TSX: L) has applied to Health Canada to become a Licensed Producer under Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). This is part of their business plan to purchase cannabis from growers to sell online. Shoppers does not intend to grow cannabis and has made agreements to purchase cannabis from Aphria, Tilray and Starseed Medicinal. This is similar to Namaste Technologies (TSXV: N) with which it will compete. London Drugs, another large chain of pharmacies in Canada, is considering following suit.
Of course the end goal of medical cannabis advocates and the pharmaceutical companies is to have the regulations changes so that medical cannabis can be sold through “bricks and mortar” outlets, that is, through store front dispensaries. Also, in some provinces such as British Columbia, privately operated dispensaries of cannabis cannot sell non-cannabis related items such as are normally found in drug stores.
As often happened in the past, the Conservative Federal Government was often forced kicking and screaming to make fair and reasonable changes to the regulations. This may be happen here. In a case before the Supreme Court of British Columbia approximately 40 cannabis outlets are arguing that Vancouver’s dispensary licensing process is too onerous and prevents medical cannabis patients with reasonable access to medications. As lawyer John Conroy says, in representing some of the dispensaries, patients should be allowed to purchase their medications from a pharmacy or store.