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

Mt. Begbie Brewing opens new tasting room

Following a record breaking year and a number of awards, Mt. Begbie Brewing opens a new tasting room

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

BC Liberal leadership hopeful Michael Lee stops in Revelstoke

Lee’s visit comes less than a week before the BC Liberal’s final leadership debate

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler pleads not guilty in U.S. court

Colin Martin continues to fight allegations relating to cross-border drug smuggling operation

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

PHOTOS: Revy Stomp transforms community centre

On Saturday night the Selkirk Saddle Club proved it’s far more than just a one-trick pony

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Tychonik continues scoring run

Vees chalk up another win with Pink in the Rink

PHOTOS: Rail Jam at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

On Saturday night RMR held a killer rail jam at the base of the ski hill

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Most Read