With the legalization date of marijuana in Canada inching closer and closer, talks of exactly how Canadians will be able to get their hands on the newly legalized drug have gotten louder. Especially considering that the province of Ontario recently decided to switch their plan and make the whole distribution of the drug privatized.
That's right, after recent changes by premier Doug Ford, only Ontario Cannabis Store branches explicitly backed by the province will be able to sell the drug over the counter. Meaning plans concerning the LCBO and Shopify have been axed for the time being.
Though there is one spot that will be selling marijuana that isn't directly affiliated with the OCS, and that's none other than your favourite drugstore, Shoppers Drug Mart.
The reason that Shoppers is the exception and will be able to sell marijuana is because they will specifically be dealing with medical marijuana, not the recreational version of the drug. So yes, you definitely will still be seeing marijuana in your local drugstore come October.
For Shoppers Drug Mart, the process of grabbing some bud will be similar to picking up any kind of prescription you typically get at the drug store right now as they specifically will be dealing with medicinal version. First, you'll have a consultation with a pharmacist at your local Shoppers where you discuss your needs as well as different strains and methods of consumptions.
From there, you'll be offered the best option for you and will get a prescription from your pharmacist if they see that medical marijuana is the right choice for you. Since it will be like any other prescription drug, details such as the number of refills or the specific strain you are given are subject to what your pharmacist has prescribed you with.
With regard to whether OCS branches or Shoppers could be a better fit for you, the Canadian Pharmacists Association has given their support to pharmacies leading the way for distributing medical marijuana. Specifically because "pharmacists have the necessary expertise to mitigate the potential risks associated with medical cannabis, including harmful drug interactions, contraindications and potential addictive behaviour."
On the other hand, many are already in favour of the more relaxed approach that the OCS will be taking. Considering you won't need to get a formal prescription or have a health problem that demands one to get access to their stock.
Regardless of where you stand on the preferred experience, we'll have to wait until the drug is legalized to be able to test out both shopping opportunities until we know for sure which one has the best combination of safety and convenience.