Shoppers Drug Mart Leaves Medical Cannabis Users In The Dark!

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Shoppers Drug Mart Leaves Medical Cannabis Users In The Dark!

Shoppers Drug Mart's Exit from Medical Cannabis Business Raises Concerns

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Shoppers Drug Mart, a major Canadian pharmacy chain, has announced its exit from the medical cannabis distribution business, which it launched in January 2019. The pharmacy, which is a division of Canada’s largest grocer, Loblaw Cos., is transitioning its Medical Cannabis by Shoppers business to biopharmaceutical operator Avicanna. Although Shoppers Drug Mart has nearly 1,350 locations across Canada, it was never allowed to dispense medical marijuana from those brick-and-mortar stores. Canada’s federally regulated medical cannabis program revolves around mail-order sales to registered patients, with Shoppers offering an online platform to its MMJ clients to facilitate that process.

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Reasons Behind Shoppers Drug Mart’s Exit from Medical Cannabis Operations

The release from Shoppers Drug Mart did not explicitly state why the company decided to pull the plug on its medical cannabis operations. However, according to Mitchell Osak, president of Toronto-based Quanta Consulting, who consults for the cannabis industry, the medical cannabis business of Shoppers was “floundering” due to the overall decline of Canada’s regulated MMJ market in terms of both revenue and patients. Osak believes that when Shoppers got into the medical cannabis industry in 2019, there was a hope that they would be able to influence the government or change the regulations, which would allow medical cannabis to be prescribed in their pharmacies by pharmacists. However, that never happened.

Shoppers Drug Mart Advocacy for Medical Cannabis Dispensed in Pharmacies

“As we move away from medical cannabis distribution, we remain firm in our belief that this medication should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others and will continue our advocacy to that end,” said Shoppers President Jeff Leger in a news release. Medical cannabis spending in Canada has declined as the legal adult-use market has grown. Health Canada reported 247,548 medical cannabis registrations as of March 2022, down from a peak of 377,024 in September 2020.

Shoppers Drug Mart Role in Medical Cannabis Research

Shoppers Drug Mart was also involved in medical cannabis research. Its exit from the cannabis sector is a blow to the credibility of the industry, as they were important players in medical cannabis.

Other Companies Leaving the Cannabis Industry

Loblaw is not the only North American company to turn away from cannabis this year, illustrating the challenges of operating in the sector. Technology company Forian recently left the cannabis space, selling off its BioTrack seed-to-sale tracking software. Another tech company, Akerna, also sold its cannabis software assets earlier this year.

Conclusion

The exit of Shoppers Drug Mart from the medical cannabis distribution business marks its exit from the marijuana industry. The pharmacy, which launched its MMJ distribution business in January 2019, is transitioning its Medical Cannabis by Shoppers business to biopharmaceutical operator Avicanna. The reasons behind Shoppers’ decision to exit the medical cannabis industry were not explicitly stated in the news release. However, according to industry consultants, the medical cannabis business of Shoppers was “floundering,” considering the overall decline of Canada’s regulated MMJ market in terms of both revenue and patients. Despite its exit from the cannabis sector, Shoppers remains committed to advocating for medical cannabis to be dispensed in pharmacies like all others.

FAQs

  1. Why did Shoppers Drug Mart exit the medical cannabis distribution business?
    • The news release from Shoppers Drug Mart did not explicitly state the reason behind its decision to pull the plug on its medical cannabis operations. However, according to industry consultants, the medical cannabis business of Shoppers was “floundering,” considering the overall decline of Canada’s regulated MMJ market in terms of both revenue and patients. Additionally, Shoppers Drug Mart stated that it wants medical cannabis to be dispensed in pharmacies like all other medications and will continue advocating for it.
  2. What is the federally regulated medical cannabis program in Canada?
    • Canada’s federally regulated medical cannabis program revolves around mail-order sales to registered patients.
  3. Did Shoppers Drug Mart dispense medical marijuana from its brick-and-mortar stores?
    • No, Shoppers Drug Mart was never allowed to dispense medical marijuana from its brick-and-mortar stores.
  4. What role did Shoppers Drug Mart play in medical cannabis research?
    • Shoppers Drug Mart was involved in medical cannabis research.
  5. Are there other companies leaving the cannabis industry besides Shoppers Drug Mart?
    • Yes, other companies have also left the cannabis industry this year, illustrating the challenges of operating in the sector. For example, technology company Forian recently left the cannabis space, selling off its BioTrack seed-to-sale tracking software. Another tech company, Akerna, also sold its cannabis software assets earlier this year.
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