Shoppers Drug Mart applies to distribute medical marijuana

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      Canada's second-wealthiest man wants in on the medical-marijuana business.

      Canada's largest chain of drugstores, Shoppers Drug Mart, has told CBC News that it has applied to become a distributor.

      Shoppers Drug Mart is owned by Loblaw Companies, which owns several supermarket chains, including Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills.

      Loblaw is owned by George Weston Ltd. It's chaired by Galen Weston, whose net worth was estimated at $13.67 billion by Canadian Business magazine.

      Shoppers Drug Mart says it has no intention of producing medical marijuana.

      Earlier this year, the Straight reported that Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs were considering selling medical marijuana at in-store pharmacies.

      London Drugs is controlled by the Vancouver-based Louie family. Its patriarch, Brant Louie, has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

      The federal government is expected to introduce legislation next spring legalizing marijuana.

      However, critics such as Vancouver's Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, have alleged that the new regulatory regime will be, in effect, "new prohibition". That's because Emery expects a legalization task force to make recommendations favouring licensed producers over mom-and-pop storefront retailers.

      The chair of the task force, former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, is a senior advisor with Edmonton-based Bennett Jones, which has marketed itself as the go-to legal firm for licensed producers.