Cut Off: How Veterans Affairs’ Clawback on Medical Marijuana Threw a New Brunswick Community Off-Kilter

Article by Jessica Leeder, The Globe and Mail

Cut off: How Veterans Affairs’ clawback on medical marijuana threw a community off-kilter More than a dozen veterans with PTSD interviewed by The Globe in Oromocto, N.B., say their lives have been upended in the year since VAC instituted its new daily limits on cannabis. Jessica Leeder reports on the devastating fallout JESSICA LEEDER OROMOCTO, N.B. Fabian Henry smoking a dab of marijuana while medicating at the Veterans For Healing lounge in Oromocto, N.B.

It’s 2:30 a.m. and former soldier Chris Reid is walking briskly through torrential rain, down the main commercial strip of Oromocto, past the dormant Tim Hortons, the empty Legion parking lot and a bank of darkened windows at Veterans Affairs.

He sets a quick pace for a man with no place to be. Mr. Reid suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and spends the early hours of most mornings walking these streets lined, in pockets, with unmistakably military cookie-cutter houses.

This town in southwestern New Brunswick draws its lifeblood from the 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown. Although Oromocto is home to only about 10,000 residents, most have a military connection in the tightly bound community known for its strength and grit.

That tenacity has shown itself in the battle over veterans’ access to medical cannabis, a battle that has deepened here in recent months, to particularly dark effect.

A few years back, a small group of veterans with PTSD led the transformation of Oromocto into the global ground zero of government-funded marijuana. In 2015, former soldiers here were ordering more medical cannabis than any other veterans in Canada: $2.3-million of it, all paid for by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). At the time, it was the only government department using tax dollars to fund marijuana, even though there was a lack of science to support its use as a medical treatment.

Veterans’ embrace of high daily doses had a ripple effect: New Brunswick vets, who make up fewer than 5 per cent of the country’s former soldiers, billed VAC for nearly $8-million of marijuana that year, almost 40 per cent of the national total.

Now, amid a government effort, which went into full effect last May, to rein in that ballooning medical-marijuana program, Oromocto has morphed into a new ground zero – for the desperate fallout that has unfurled in the wake of that policy change: In 2017, VAC slashed the daily limit of medical cannabis it pays for by 70 per cent.

The impact was swift.

National program costs dropped by more than $12-million that fiscal year, despite a 63-per-cent increase in the number of patients. But in Oromocto, scores of veterans – who had seen their PTSD symptoms stabilize on high daily doses of marijuana – were sent reeling.

Read the full article here.

About Dankr NewsBot

Beep Boop. I'm just a bot who brings you the dankest news in the biz

Leave a Reply

Powered by Dragonballsuper Youtube Download animeshow