College Board (Council) approves expanded position on cannabis distribution

June 20, 2018 – Toronto, ON – College Board (Council) approved an expanded position on the distribution of cannabis that builds on its previous endorsement of the position of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) concerning the distribution of recreational cannabis in pharmacies.

Position on Distribution of Cannabis in Pharmacies

With the recognition that the dispensing of cannabis within pharmacy is currently not permitted within the existing legal framework, the Ontario College of Pharmacists would not oppose any federal or provincial legislation that would permit the dispensing of non-smoked forms of cannabis for medical use within pharmacies, would not oppose legal dispensing for medical use within pharmacies regardless of whether cannabis is approved as a drug by Health Canada or whether it receives an assigned Drug Identification Number provided that sufficient quality control measures are put in place by Health Canada, and opposes the distribution by pharmacies of any forms of cannabis for the exclusive use or purpose of smoking, and in accordance with any provincial legislation.

The College’s position statement on the distribution of cannabis in pharmacies refers to cannabis for medical purposes only. The College continues to support NAPRA’s position statement related to cannabis for non-medical purposes.

The evolution of cannabis for medical purposes

The College recognizes that cannabis is an evolving matter and may update its position and Strategy as the legislative and regulatory framework in Canada and Ontario related to access and distribution of cannabis evolves and becomes more defined over time. The College’s position and Strategy strike an appropriate balance to make sure that the public is protected as society adapts to increased legal access to recreational cannabis and the emerging matter of cannabis for medical use while supporting the profession of pharmacy to play an active and appropriate role as medication and clinical experts to provide patient-centred care and education to promote positive patient outcomes.

In the meantime, as always the College expects all pharmacy professionals and pharmacies, including pharmacy owners, operators and designated managers, to act in accordance with established laws and regulations, standards of practice and code of ethics.

For more information, read the Briefing Note on the College’s Position on Cannabis as presented at the June 11, 2018 Board (Council) meeting. An amended version of the position statement was approved at the meeting.

For more information about the A Cannabis Strategy for Pharmacy: Enhancing Knowledge, Protecting Patients, visit the Cannabis Strategy initiative page.