The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) says pharmacy practitioners must not be involved in the distribution of cannabis for nonmedical purposes, and that pharmacies may not use the term ‘dispensary’ or the ‘green cross’ often associated with cannabis dispensaries.
NAPRA is a regulatory body that provides national leadership in pharmacy regulatory practices and has 14 Pharmacy Regulatory Authority members from all provincial and territorial colleges of pharmacists and the Canadian Forces Pharmacy Services.
“NAPRA’s position,” reads the press release, “is that pharmacy practitioners must not be involved in the distribution of cannabis for non-medical purposes. Distribution sites for non-medical cannabis must not be permitted to use terms such as “dispensary” or pharmacy-related symbols such as a green cross, which may lead the public to believe that the distribution site is a pharmacy or that it has professional oversight from pharmacy practitioners.
“Suppliers of cannabis for any purpose must follow the federal Good Production Practices required by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), or equivalent quality standards yet to be developed. Packaging, labelling, and shipping standards must also be equivalent to those set out in the ACMPR in order to ensure secure supply chains, appropriate product labelling, and child-resistant packaging.”
Pharmacists, pharmacy chains and distributors have stated an interest in medical cannabis distribution, and some have floated the idea of being open to non-medical distribution. The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), who initially opposed medical cannabis sales, made an about-face in 2016, saying pharmacies were the best equipped to handle the product.