Written by Mike Hager for The Globe and Mail.
Despite a Supreme Court of Canada decision that gives sick Canadians the right to use medical cannabis oils, Ottawa is reimbursing the country’s veterans for dried pot only, potentially pushing them to less healthy options of smoking or vaporizing the drug.
That has prompted a group of commercial medical marijuana growers to urge Ottawa to expand medical marijuana coverage for former soldiers – a small but lucrative patient base for Canada’s two dozen licensed producers – to include the ingestible oils.
More than 1,700 veterans have access to the largest publicly funded medical marijuana plan in the country, but they are covered only for the plant’s dried flower. They have to use their own money for the oils. Licensed growers started selling the oils last year after the Supreme Court ruled Health Canada was putting sick people at risk of cancer and bronchial infections by sanctioning only dried buds.
“We’ve never heard a good reason why [oils are] not being covered,” said Philippe Lucas, executive director of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, a trade group representing four licensed commercial growers.