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

Okanagan weather watch: Snow on the way

Flurries have been predicted for most of the Okanagan Valley today

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Complex-care facility adds 60 long-term care beds

Mount Ida Mews hosts grand opening of second phase in Salmon Arm

UPDATE: One dead after crash on Highway 97A near Armstrong

Police have confirmed that one person is dead following an accident on Highway 97A Friday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Rescued Kelowna skier shares appreciation of COSAR team

A skier was found out of bounds near Big White by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Most Read