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Health Research Chair on Cannabis Established in New Brunswick

Job creation and economic growth are important priorities for the Government of New Brunswick. Cannabis has been identified as one of the key opportunities to pursue by the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, as legalization and control of cannabis will significantly expand the industry across Canada.

Today, New Brunswick makes another commitment towards leading in that space.

ONB spoke to Jeff Leger, Executive Vice President – Pharmacy and Healthcare, with Shoppers Drug Mart, to learn more about this exciting news.

ONB: What exactly is being announced today in Fredericton?

Medical marijuana shoppers drug martLeger: We are in town to help announce the creation of a new research chair position at St. Thomas University. This chair will lead research into the social and public health impact of cannabis, both medical and recreational. This chair is the first of its kind in the country and will focus on the social determinants of health relative to the use of medical and recreational cannabis.

ONB: Why St. Thomas University for this position?

Leger: My understanding is that this type of research aligns well with their existing strengths. They have a strong foundation in the humanities and social sciences, so research into the societal impact of legalized cannabis seems like a natural fit for their team.

ONB: For those that don’t know, what is Shoppers Drug Mart’s interest in this particular sector?

Leger: We have been quite public about the fact that we think there is an opportunity for pharmacists to distribute medical cannabis, and ensure that patients are medicating themselves appropriately. We have already applied for our license to distribute medical cannabis as we believe that adding pharmacy as a point of distribution for medical marijuana will improve access and safety for patients. This contribution of $500,000 towards the research chair position demonstrates just how serious we are about this industry.

We believe our pharmacists have the training to educate patients on the product, as well as consult on adverse events and interactions. With legalization now on the table, we believe the time is now to support research into how cannabis impacts society. We are really happy to see this work actively supported here in New Brunswick. From a science and research perspective, we feel New Brunswick is well positioned to lead the way in this particular sector.

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Fredericton is already the home of the Research and Productivity Council (RPC), the country’s leading tester of medical cannabis. Read our interview with their CEO and Executive Director Eric Cook.

Along with Shoppers Drug Mart, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) will also contribute $500,000 to this initiative, bringing the total to $1 million over five years. Visit the NBHRF here.

Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward for the province of New Brunswick, and builds upon work already being done here with regards to research into the social and public health impact of cannabis. Want to learn more about ONB’s role within New Brunswick’s medical cannabis industry? Connect with our Business Development Executives the button below.

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Cover image: Flickr