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Shoppers Drug Mart applies to be medical marijuana distributor

Shoppers Drug Mart on Queen St. at Portland St. in downtown Toronto.

Gloria Nieto/The Globe and Mail

Shoppers Drug Mart says it has submitted an application to be a distributor of medical marijuana.

A spokeswoman says in an e-mail that the drug store chain has applied to Health Canada to become a licensed medical marijuana producer – but only for the purpose of distributing the drug.

Tammy Smitham says Shoppers has "no intention" of producing cannabis. The application is an administrative requirement to be able to distribute the drug.

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However, even if Shoppers' application is granted, the retailer won't be permitted to dispense the drug through its stores unless the government updates the regulations.

Under the current regime, patients are only permitted to buy medical marijuana directly from licensed producers, who send it by mail.

Smitham says Shoppers is hopeful that Ottawa will consider updating the rules to allow pharmacies to play a role in distributing medical marijuana.

"We believe that allowing medical marijuana to be dispensed through pharmacy would increase access, safety, quality and security for the thousands of Canadians who use the drug as part of their medication therapy," Smitham said in an e-mail.

Shoppers Drug Mart is owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd.

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