Cannabis News

Cannabis Weekly Round-Up: Shoppers Drug Mart Closes Medical Cannabis Store

Cannabis Investing News
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A leading pharmacy chain in Canada is leaving the cannabis space as it transitions patients onto a new platform from a separate company.

Shoppers Drug Mart, a Loblaw Companies (TSX:L) owned pharmacy chain in Canada, is getting out of the medical cannabis dispensing industry.

The Canadian cannabis industry hoped for relief to be delivered in the new federal budget. However, after it was unveiled, a business association called it out for not doing enough.

Keep reading to find out about cannabis highlights from the past five days.

National pharmacy transitions patients to new platform

The pharmacy will wind down its Medical Cannabis online platform over the next three months, it announced on Tuesday (March 28).

Canadian medical cannabis patients relying on the digital storefront set up by the nationwide pharmacy chain will now be counting on Avicanna’s (TSX:AVCN,OTCQX:AVCNF) platform

"We are motivated towards furthering the work started by Shoppers Drug Mart to create Canada's leading independent, comprehensive medical cannabis platform and continuing our efforts towards advancing access to medical cannabis and its long-term incorporation into the standard of care," Aras Azadian, CEO of Avicanna, said.

The launch of the Medical Cannabis platform by Shoppers Drug Mart was seen as further recognition of the industry’s size and potential following the legalization of adult-use products in late 2018. According to the company, its platform has supported tens of thousands of patients.

While there was no explanation given for the decision to step away from the cannabis space, Shoppers Drug Mart President Jeff Leger said it will continue to advocate for the belief that cannabis medication “should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others.”

Federal budget changes tax payment schedule

Another major change took place in the Canadian marketplace thanks to the delivery of the 2023 federal budget.

While some of the long-standing requests for financial help from the industry weren't addressed, the budget did acknowledge the industry in one significant way by announcing a change for cannabis excise duty payment terms from a monthly basis to a quarterly one.

A leading association that represents the interests of Canadian licensed producers wasn’t impressed by the ultimate rule change in the budget.

“The survival of our industry’s small and medium sized players hangs in the balance, and the measure announced today and the words acknowledging the challenging conditions that we face don’t add up to meaningful relief,” George Smitherman, president and CEO of the Cannabis Council of Canada, said in a statement.

According to the group, cannabis sales in Canada earned governments C$1.6 billion in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Cannabis company news

  • Fire & Flower Holdings (TSX:FAF,OTCQX:FFLWF)confirmed the launch of an online marketplace platform in the App Store for Apple iPhones. Matthew Hollingshead, chief innovation officer with the retailer, said this service will engage consumers on a new level.
  • Auxly Cannabis Group (TSX:XLY,OTCQB:CBWTF)issued its Q4 and full year 2022 financial results and provided an outlook for the 2023 operating year. Based on the challenges for the Canadian cannabis industry, Hugo Alves, CEO of Auxly, said the company has had to adapt. “Our efforts have yielded positive results, including our first significant wholesales of bulk dried flower from Auxly Leamington, improved net revenues and blended margins, and reductions in SG&A during the fourth quarter,” he said.
  • High Tide (NASDAQ:HITI,TSXV:HITI)confirmed to investors the purchase of 258,921 common shares in the firm by a group of “certain officers, directors and consultants" led by the president and CEO, at an average price of US$1.59 per share. Insiders now own approximately 9.67 percent of the company’s shares.
  • Verano Holdings (CSE:VRNO,OTCQX:VRNOF)released its financial results for the Q4 and year-end 2022 period. “I’m very proud of our results in 2022, highlighted by record revenue and one of the industry’s leading margin profiles, which demonstrate our continued execution in driving efficiencies across the business and positioning ourselves ahead of growth,” said George Archos, founder, chairman and CEO of the firm.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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