Here’s a discussion about marijuana legalization, substance abuse, and the war on drugs.
London Drugs, a Canadian-based pharmaceuticals company headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia is planning to introduce medical marijuana amongst its line of products. They confirmed this through a media report, stating that the firm is contemplating on selling medical marijuana should the federal state approve it. If government agrees, then soon medical marijuana users will be picking up their stash alongside other prescription pills in at least two of Canada’s most renowned drugstores.
Currently, London Drugs is contemplating on the possibility of distributing this substance in all its 79 B.C. pharmacies spread across Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Vice President of Pharmacy, John Tse, said that when marijuana gets classified as a legal medical product, Health Canada will regulate it, meaning that more people will entrust the substance for their daily use. It would be expertly controlled and sold through licensed pharmacies, which can also help guide consumers on how they can use their marijuana for health purposes. Tse maintains that they are trying their best to prepare for marijuana sales, without necessarily knowing what framework the federal state will employ in regulating it.
He further adds that despite this, they have discussed with various associations to find out if some individuals have a better understanding of what that framework will look like. However, as it stands now nobody seems to know anything about the marijuana policy, partly because people are not talking about it. Hence, London Drugs has started preparing its pharmacies from an educational perspective.
John Tse says that the company is confident they can source marijuana suppliers once it becomes legit. He also reiterates it’s an interesting time in history from a health standpoint, for distribution of the substance. Taking into consideration there’s already a steady need and ready marketplace for this product. Even so, there’s still need for guidance from physicians, pharmacies, Health Canada and regulatory bodies working together to develop solid policies that will benefit the Canadian public in general.
Though London Drugs isn’t doing anything with medicinal marijuana today, they anticipate that legislation will likely change in the near future to allow for easier access of this substance. Should it happen as planned, the company will prepare itself sufficiently for these new changes. The drugstore gave its comments after the Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources that their main competitor Shoppers Drugs Mart had previously held meetings with multiple marijuana producers and wholesale suppliers over the recent year, discussing on the idea of selling legal weed through its countrywide pharmacies.
Nevertheless, these two are not the only companies seeking this particular privilege; other smaller retailers are also looking forward to become legal marijuana retailers. If and when marijuana is sanctioned, Tse agrees that it makes sense for licensed pharmacists to dispense pot given their knowledge and expertise in administering prescription drugs.
As professionals in drug interactions, he said pharmacists can help determine if a client taking any other prescription pills alongside medical marijuana could face possible side effects. Moreover, since drugstores operate in an already highly regulated environment, the VP said that being allowed to sell cannabis may also yield more information about its uses. So as to help guide future regulatory measures that might be implemented.
However, there are a few problems which should be addressed first, such as training pharmacists how to distribute clinical marijuana and finding the latest scientific literature on effects of pot. Presently, London Drugs doesn’t have the adequate knowledge and training expertise. Plus getting that is probably going to take some time since there’s very little information available out there.
An organization going by the name Neighborhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, of which London Drugs is a member, also weighed in on the issue, claiming that they believe pharmacies are in a better position to manage dispensation and access to medicinal marijuana. Spokesman Allan Austin said that their members have various systems/processes in place to administer usage of the substance, including monitoring, consumption tracking and being aware of possible drug interactions. But pharmacies are not the only businesses set to benefit from this legalization of weed, in Dec. 2015 British Columbia’s Private Liquor Store Association stated that they were working together to advocate for sale of legal cannabis in individual liquor stores.
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia signed in late 2015, a decree that will legalize and regulate medical marijuana. This action is however a shift away from the country’s policy of preventing production of drug crops. In doing this, the president said it puts Colombia in the midst of countries that are leading in exploiting natural resource for disease interventions. The medical world uses marijuana to reign over ailments like Crohn’s disease, HIV symptoms, nausea and seizures.
While announcing the decree in an address televised nationally, President Santos said that growing, processing, importing and exporting cannabis and its derivatives would now be legal as long as the said products serve scientific or medical use. Responsible state agencies such as the health ministry as such, will grant licenses for cannabis seeds and plants.
Though marijuana production mainly falls in the legally grey area, President Santos says the government will remain steadfast in the fight against illegal drug production. This action is not entirely strange; Colombia passed a law in 1986 that allow manufacture, export and sale of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes. Until this decree however, no formal regulation was really in place.
Essentially, this law now demands that anyone who wishes to grow marijuana must seek a license from the National Narcotics Council.
Though plagued by effects of decades-long drug trade and ensuing related violence, Colombia now joins a league of Latin American countries that have laws and policies decriminalizing and or legalizing use of marijuana. Residents of these countries and US states such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon can now easily access cannabis for medicinal use. Uruguay in fact, is several steps ahead with functional laws that fully legalize production, sale and even recreational use.
President Santos highlighted that this action does not stand in the way of Colombia’s commitment to drug control. The country is a close collaborator of the US in the fight against drug trafficking. It is the world’s leading cocaine producer followed closely by another South American counterpart, Peru, and, both the US and Colombia believe that the financial might of the former and the latter’s military power will help the South American coke powerhouse shed this title.
Colombia also plans to offer incentives to help with the fight against drug crop production. For instance, coca growers who cease production will get land from the government. Under the decree, entrepreneurs who seek to manufacture drugs using marijuana will get permits from the ministry of health. The same government agency will be responsible for granting permits to traders who want to export the drug and its derivatives to countries where marijuana use is legal.
The decree seems to emanate from Colombia’s quest to increase public access to locally made drugs that are also safe and of high quality. Legalizing marijuana as such provides an opportunity for the country to promote scientific research. The push to make marijuana use legal seems to engulf the entire South America; Chile’s congress is deliberating on making it legal. Even Mexico, which has prohibitionist marijuana laws, is initiating a national debate early 2016 that will overhaul these.
Colombia decriminalized marijuana possession in 2012 as long as it is less than 20 grams. It also is legal to grow up to 20 plants of cannabis though consumption in public remains illegal. Medical marijuana is however, already available, albeit on a small scale. Pharmaceutical companies and health professionals condemn this new decree saying that it will make the process of buying, selling and manufacturing drugs a lot easier.
If such a situation is true, then Colombia is diving into a sad situation considering that illegal drugs fuel horrific violence in the country. Over the past five decades, more than 220,000 have lost their lives because of conflicts between the government forces and leftist guerrillas.