An update on Cannabis


The Ontario College of Pharmacists recognizes that the issue of use of cannabis for medical purposes and its distribution is of growing interest to Ontarians including patients and pharmacy professionals. At its June 2017 meeting, the Council of the Ontario College of Pharmacists endorsed the position of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) regarding cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes and the role of pharmacy practitioners. The College’s support of that position remains unchanged.

At its September 2017 meeting, Council agreed to establish a task force to develop a cannabis strategy for pharmacy in Ontario that is grounded in our public-protection mandate. Through robust discussions amongst a wide variety of stakeholders involved, the task force is drafting a multi-pronged strategy that will be expected to simultaneously address relevant areas of practice and prepare the College and pharmacy professionals to address evolving cannabis-related issues, while considering how to best serve patients and Ontarians who may be using cannabis for recreational or medical use.

The Strategy, which remains under development, will be presented to Council on June 11, 2018. Along with the Strategy, the College also intends to present to Council a formal position statement on the distribution of cannabis within pharmacy.

As shared in the last Council Report from the March 2018 meeting, Council discussed and unanimously supported the recommendation that the College require all Part A pharmacists to complete cannabis education in preparation for anticipated practice changes associated with increased use of and demand for recreational cannabis and cannabis used by patients for medical purposes. College staff will work towards establishing a process for implementation of the requirement and collaborate with continuing education providers to assure appropriate courses are accessible to pharmacists to meet this mandatory education requirement.

More information on the requirement, including implementation timeline, will be communicated as details are confirmed over the coming months. No implementation date for this requirement has been set.