HASH(0x292d4cc)

Pharmacy distributors want in on Canada’s legalized marijuana regime

Pharmacy distributors eyeing pot landscape

OTTAWA — The federal government’s plans for legalizing recreational marijuana has many would-be players looking to carve out a role for themselves in the emerging market, including pharmaceutical distributors who already ship drugs across the country.

The Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management — a supplier of medicine for pharmacies and hospitals — says it has a ready-made system for marijuana distribution that they say is far superior to mail-order pot.

Pharmaceutical distributors offer a more appropriate vehicle for the recreational marijuana market, CEO David Johnston said in an interview Wednesday, noting they already have the infrastructure in place to handle potential recalls, be it in downtown Toronto or remote northern Ontario.

“Pharmaceutical products (are) being shipped across this country and being delivered by the pharmaceutical distributors, so we feel like we are a natural partner in the movement of marijuana, both medical and recreational, to whatever its final access point is,” Johnston said.

“That’s a detail that’s not known yet.”

The federal government plans to have an established regime for legalized marijuana by July 2018, but will require provincial and territorial governments to play a critical role on issues including licensing, distribution and retail sales.

More discussions can unfold with federal and provincial officials now that the Liberal government fired up the process last week when it tabled its long-awaited marijuana legislation, Johnston added.

“There are … difficult and complicated questions that need to be answered around the legalization of marijuana both medically and recreationally,” he said.

“What we are suggesting is: here is a very complex section where you already have a … proven solution.”

On Thursday, hundreds are expected to flock to Parliament Hill to take part in so-called 4-20 celebrations — an annual, highly visible display of support for legal marijuana that takes place in various locales around the world.

The celebration is expected to take on new meaning now the federal government has set in motion its legalization process including sweeping legal, health and justice policy shifts.

Health Minister Jane Philpott, who first signalled the timing of the landmark legislation on 4-20 last year at a UN special session on drugs, did not strike a celebratory tone when asked Wednesday about the upcoming demonstrations.

“We are pleased that we were able to get this bill tabled in the House,” she said in an interview.

“It is a transformative piece of policy that is, I think, a strong response to the realities that we are facing in Canada with high rates of cannabis use.”

The Liberal government will also ensure Canadians who need cannabis for medical purposes can do so through the existing regime, Philpott said, noting a federally appointed task force recommended a separate system alongside the recreational one.

In a 2016 decision, the Federal Court of Canada declared a previous medical marijuana system unconstitutional on the basis it did not provide patients with reasonable access to cannabis.

The government subsequently introduced new regulations — the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations — in August 2016 so patients could access marijuana through licensed producers, produce their own, or designate someone to do so.

The issue of personal cultivation is also popping up in the recreational pot debate, with the government’s proposed legislation allowing for up to four plants per residence, with no plant to exceed one metre in height.

Before the bill was tabled, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police urged the Liberal government to exclude personal cultivation from its plans to legalize marijuana, saying it’s impossible to ensure such marijuana isn’t being cultivated for the black market.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Flag person’s death shines light on dangers

Company calls for more awareness of and respect for flaggers

Vernon at centre of rail trails convergence

More local development input sought for Okanagan and North Okanagan/Shuswap rail trails

Vernon multi-density housing project applauded

Neighbour feels densification is “too greedy”

Outbreak affects eight people in Vernon

UPDATE: Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Military service honoured for Vernon captain

Lisa Devine presented with Canadian Forces Decoration clasp.

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Anderson extends invitation to Liberal voters

Interim B.C. Conservative party leader invites “disenfranchised Liberal voters” to join his party

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Police kill gunman north of Toronto

Police shot and killed a gunman during a hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Most Read