"Canada plans to make government-certified marijuana available in local pharmacies, a move that would make it only the second country in the world to allow the direct sale of medical marijuana.
Officials are organizing a pilot project in the British Columbia province modeled on a year-old program in the Netherlands.
Currently, there are 78 medical users in Canada permitted to buy government marijuana, which is grown in Flin Flon, Manitoba. An ounce sells for about $113, and the marijuana is sent by courier to patients or their doctors.
But the department is changing the regulations to allow participating pharmacies to stock marijuana for sale to approved patients without a doctor's prescription, similar to regulations governing so-called morning-after pills. Those emergency contraceptives can be obtained directly from a pharmacist without the need for a doctor's signature.
A notice of the change is expected to be made public this spring, allowing for drugstore distribution later in the year.
'We're just at the preliminary stages right now,' said Robin O'Brien, a consulting pharmacist organizing the pilot project. 'We're not quite sure how it's going to fit.'" Mar. 22, 2004 Associated Press and CNN