Faced with skyrocketing costs and ballooning demand, the federal government is dramatically cutting back the amount of medical marijuana it will cover for veterans.
Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr plans to scale back the limit for reimbursement from 10 grams of medical marijuana per day to three. He made the announcement at the Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Vancouver.
“I was shocked to learn that the former government began reimbursing veterans for cannabis with no policy in place,” Hehr said. “Now is the time to change that.”
Last March, Hehr told CBC News he was launching an internal policy review, after data showed the number of medical marijuana prescriptions had shot up.
“Since the first veteran was reimbursed on compassionate grounds in 2007, the department has been reimbursing veterans for cannabis in increasing numbers and at an increasing cost,” Hehr said.
“We went from one veteran to over 3,000 in eight years, many of whom are accessing up to 10 grams per day.”
Veterans will be allowed to continue charging for their current amount until May 21, 2017. There will also be an exception for veterans in “exceptional circumstances.” A psychiatrist, pain specialist, oncologist or other health specialist would have to submit an application explaining the rationale for a larger quantity.