HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Druggists Anxious To Get Into Pot Business
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Dec 2004
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Vancouver Courier
Author: David Carrigg, Staff writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Your friendly neighbourhood pharmacist could be getting into the marijuana 
business if Health Canada backs a local scheme.

Pharmacists Glenda MacDonald and Robin O'Brien, directors of Vancouver's 
Pharmacotherapy Consulting Group, are developing a pilot project to allow 
several B.C. pharmacists to sell government-grown marijuana to the almost 
150 British Columbians with Health Canada permission to smoke dope.

The Pharmacotherapy Consulting Group advises clients on drug therapy and 
provides information on herb treatments and supplements.

MacDonald said the pilot project could be running by spring 2005.

"Both our representative bodies, the College of Pharmacists of B.C. and the 
B.C. Pharmacy Association, are very much in favour of doing this," said 
MacDonald, adding 80 per cent of local pharmacists support pharmacies 
distributing medical marijuana.

Health Canada began issuing special permits for seriously and chronically 
ill people to use marijuana in July 2001. Presently 144 British Columbians 
have a medical marijuana licence out of a total 753 across Canada, and the 
number continues to rise.

Health Canada also issues licences to individuals to grow marijuana for 
medical purposes. It contracted a Manitoba-based company, Prairie Plant 
Systems, to grow marijuana on behalf of the federal government in an 
abandoned mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba.

However, to receive medical marijuana, licence holders must either buy it 
from a licensed grower or through non-profit groups like the B.C. 
Compassion Club.

In October, Health Canada released a series of proposals on marijuana, 
including sharing the names of medical marijuana permit holders with police 
and developing a pilot project for distributing government-grown marijuana 
through pharmacies.

The proposals are now open to public comment before being adopted as policy 
by the government.

Catherine Saunders, Health Canada spokeswoman, said Health Canada wants to 
use traditional venues like pharmacies to sell the marijuana grown at the 
Flin Flon operation.

Saunders said Health Canada has also increased the potency of the Flin Flon 
marijuana after complaints from users. Health Canada also decided to supply 
only marijuana bud after complaints from users about the initial offering 
of a blend of bud, stem and leaf.

Saunders said while the Vancouver pilot project could be underway by 
spring, marijuana will not be available at pharmacies nationwide for at 
least three years.
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