In a landmark deal, Aphria Inc., agreed to allow Canada’s major pharmacy chains to sell its product, allowing people to buy marijuana online. While current Canadian legislation doesn’t allow for cannabis to be sold in physical retail locations, Shoppers Drug Mart will sell marijuana from Aphria Inc. on its website.
According to Bloomberg, news of the agreement caused Aphria’s stock to jump around 30 percent Tuesday. Not only is this a financial boon for the marijuana company, but could prove to ease trepidation from doctors who have never written a medical marijuana prescription previously.
“It’s really a huge reach-out to thousands of doctors….” Aphria Chief Executive Officer Vic Neufeld said on a conference call, according to Bloomberg. “When a pharmacist is involved in the process, they become a lot more agreeable or receptive or comfortable in writing a script.”
As Canada will legalize recreational marijuana this summer, major players within the cannabis industry are trying to secure long-term deals to seal their place in the marketplace. Though it is unknown whether Aphria Inc. will be the sole provider of medical marijuana to Shoppers Drug Mart, it’s an extreme advantage moving forward.
The medical marijuana market is estimated to produce $1.6 billion in Canadian dollars by 2021 while the total recreational market could total more than $6 billion.
“There are 1,300 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix locations across the country,” Beacon Securities analyst Vahan Ajamian told Bloomberg. “We see this five-year agreement as a major milestone for Aphria and for the sector at large.”