Canada’s biggest drugstore chain is looking into adding medical marijuana to their shelves. It would be a massive shift towards the new industry, bringing a heavyweight retailer into the controversial business.
According to those in the know, Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has had more than one meeting and phone call with licensed medical-marijuana producers across Canada over the past year. They’re not only considering carrying multiple strands of the drug, but selling its own generic marijuana under its house brand.
“Life” brand marijuana, anyone?
“Pharmacists are medication experts and play a significant role in the prescribing and monitoring of medication to ensure safe and optimal use,” says Shoppers Drug Mart spokeswoman Tammy Smitham.
“We believe that dispensing medical marijuana through pharmacy, like other medications, is the safest option.”
Of course it wouldn’t be a free-for-all; you’d still need a license to purchase the product. And there’re still regulatory hurdles to a pharmacy chain selling marijuana.
But if the Liberal government follows through on decriminalizing and regulating weed in Canada, it opens the door for an enormous retail marijuana market. And Shoppers isn’t the only one who sees the massive profit potential.
Marc Gobuty, founder and CEO of Peace Naturals Project, a producer licensed by Health Canada to grow medical marijuana, has been approached by two of Canada’s largest pharmacy chains about becoming a potential supplier.
“What they wanted to do was to lock up a certain amount of supply at a guaranteed price,” said Gobuty. He turned down the offers, as his smaller firm doesn’t have the logistics to supply a major retailer.
Gobuty believes the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in June to allow producers to sell marijuana in the form of oil was a game-changer.
“The stigma has come down significantly and you’re got a delivery system now that doesn’t require smoking. It’s obviously highly counterintuitive to physicians to prescribe something that you have to smoke,” he said.
“This to [the drugstore chains] is in their wheelhouse. This they can deal with. If you get a dollar or two, or four dollars per bottle, it’s an incremental source of revenue. It’s organic growth for them. And everybody’s looking for that.”
With the news of potential legal marijuana sales in Canada, it was only natural for the social media trolls to have their say (they’re pretty clever):
Shoppers Drug Mart eyes sales of medical marijuana. Hundreds of girl guides formulate plan to sell cookies at locations.
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) February 24, 2016
Shoppers Drug Mart is looking into selling medicinal marijauna if you buy yours w/ 2 bags of @DoritosCanada you’ll get 5,000 Shoppers points
— Shannon Hunter (@Shananigans) February 24, 2016
Shoppers Drug Mart – Living up to its name, like literally. 🙂
— Nisarg Shah (@inisargshah) February 24, 2016