Canada's top pharmacy chain prepares to sell medical marijuana

Legal marijuana sales tripled in 2015
Legal marijuana sales tripled in 2015

Canada's top pharmacy chain is hoping to be the first in the country to legally sell over-the-counter medical marijuana.

Shoppers Drug Mart confirmed Wednesday it had filed an application with the Canadian government earlier this year to be a licensed distributor, allowing pharmacists to dispense cannabis at its hundreds of stores across the nation.

"We are hopeful that the Government of Canada will revise the current regulations to allow dispensing at pharmacy," a Shoppers spokesperson said in a statement.

Currently, Canadian patients can only receive medical marijuana through the mail from licensed producers. Shoppers Drug Mart said that dispensing it at pharmacies "would increase access, safety, quality and security for the thousands of Canadians who use the drug as part of their medication therapy."

Medical cannabis is used by tens of thousands of Canadians for therapeutic purposes.

A spokesperson for competitor Rexall told CNNMoney it is monitoring the situation, but not applying for a distribution license at this point.

canada cannabis shoppers drug mart

Related: Medical marijuana, for babies and their desperate parents

Marijuana use has been gaining public support over the past few years and recreational pot usage has been legalized in a handful of U.S. states.

A number of U.S. states are voting on new marijuana propositions in November, most prominently California and Florida. They are voting to legalize weed either for recreational or medical purposes.

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