Pubdate: Wed, 24 Mar 2004
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Duncan News Leader
Author:  Jennifer Hourihan
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Distributing marijuana through pharmacies is a huge step forward for the
medical pot industry and a plus for patients, say Duncan's licensed medical
marijuana growers.

"Cannabis is a viable medicine for distribution across Canada and this
really shows the government is committed to recognizing that," said Eric
Nash, who along with his wife Wendy Little is licensed to grow marijuana.

Currently, people with prescriptions for medical marijuana obtain the drug
either from licensed growers like Nash and Little, or have it couriered from
the government supply grown in Flin Flon, Manitoba, at a cost of $150 per 30
gram bag.

But Health Canada is planning to change its regulations to allow pharmacies
in B.C. to stock government-grown pot on a trial basis under a pilot program
being organized by Vancouver pharmacists Robin O'Brien and Glenda MacDonald.

The idea would allow quicker, easier access for patients, said Nash, who
recently returned from taking part in consultation on the plan in Ottawa.

"There are patients who have ordered the government product and it takes
five weeks to get it - and that's too long for someone who's in pain," he
said. "This will be going to your doctor, and then going to your pharmacist
- - and that's great."

Ted Carino, pharmacist with Mill Bay People's Pharmacy, said while he has
some concerns, he's interested in the idea.

"I'd like to be on the forefront of it," he said. "It would mean being able
to provide another service to improve people's quality of life."

But Carino said before he would stock pot, he'd have the weigh the
possibility of increased risk of break-ins to his store, and he'd want to
see formal regulations for handling the drug in place.

"There's a lot of things that need to be addressed first," he said. "And the
public would need to know not everyone can walk in and get it. But as long
as it's regulated I would be interested."

North Cowichan/ Duncan RCMP Const. Jennifer Prunty said the local detachment
has not yet examined the idea and could not comment.

Which pharmacies end up supplying marijuana will be determined by proximity
to patients with prescriptions.

Nash said he's already been approached by several pharmacies interested in
having him supply them.

"Wendy and I are really excited about the possibility of supplying
pharmacies," he said. "I think a lot of pharmacies will be interested - it
comes down to providing their patients with the services they need."

In particular, compounding pharmacies are interested in the chance to supply
marijuana in alternate forms, such as a liquid tincture, salve or ointment.

Naturopaths are also interested in distributing marijuana to their patients,
Nash said. 
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