Fourth Canadian pharmacy chain plans medical marijuana sales

(This story has been updated from an earlier version.)

A large network of independently owned pharmacies in Canada is securing medical cannabis supply, becoming the fourth pharmacy chain to launch efforts to enter the fast-growing MMJ market.

Pharmasave, which operates a network of 650 stores across Canada, signed a letter of intent with British Columbia-based medical marijuana cultivator Zenabis for the supply of MMJ.

It’s the second such deal Pharmasave has signed in two weeks.

Last week, Pharmasave signed a letter of intent for medical marijuana with Tilray, also based in British Columbia.

Pharmasave’s plan is subject to changes in Canadian regulations. Currently, the only way for patients to access medical cannabis products is through mail-order with federally-licensed medical producers.

Tilray believes these regulations will change, but didn’t give a specific timeline.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Pharmacies across Canada have been racing to lock up MMJ supply, but so far none have received permission to begin sales.

Shoppers, Lovell Drugs and PharmaChoice have signed supply deals with Aphria, MedReleaf, Maricann and CanniMed Therapeutics.

Collectively they operate about 2,660 pharmacies across Canada.

Their pending entry into the medical cannabis market comes as the number of registered MMJ patients is soaring.

There were 269,500 registered patients through December 2017, according to the latest data released by Health Canada.

That’s up from 129,800 registered patients at the end of 2016.

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