Last week, Walgreens quietly published an explainer on medical marijuana on its health and wellness blog. The post, titled “What is Medical Marijuana?”, plainly explains the benefits (and potential side-effects) of treating various disorders with cannabis, and encourages customers to “talk with your doctor” if they have more questions.
But that might be easier said than done. Weed is still illegal in the US under federal law, even as more states have adopted laws that legalize medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. As a result, medical marijuana remains a taboo for some doctors, who may not feel comfortable giving patients informative while the battle for legalization plays out.
Which is why pro-legalization groups like the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) found Walgreens’ blog post significant.
“This is a company that prides itself on providing complete medical information to its patients and that should include information about medical marijuana,” Mason Tvert, the communications director for the MPP, said. “In some sense, it’s not surprising if they’re going to provide information to the public about other legal medications, that they provide them with information about medical marijuana. But of course, it is noteworthy in that it is a large company and not something that you’ve seen before.”
But while it’s still an unprecedented move for the nation’s largest drugstore chain, the blog post is far from an endorsement of the drug or a political call to action.
Asked about Walgreens’ motivation behind the blog post, a company spokesperson said, “The content was developed to address some of the questions we’ve received from patients and customers through various channels. It is strictly informative, and nowhere do we take any stance on the issue [of medical marijuana].”