Veterans Affairs Officials Focus on Cons in Medical Marijuana Discussion

Article by The Toronto Star


Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr was briefed on concerns and questions about medical marijuana use in a presentation to earlier this year, including fears that paying for injured ex-soldiers’ pot could actually hurt them.

But noticeably absent was discussion about the positive benefits of medical marijuana, including whether it has reduced veterans’ reliance on opioids and other drugs.

Instead, in a separate briefing note, officials told Hehr that they had not been able to prove a link between the two.

The government is expected to unveil a new policy on medical marijuana for veterans in the coming weeks, after auditor general Michael Ferguson reported in May that Veterans Affairs paid more than $20 million for pot last year, up from $5 million a year earlier.

Ferguson said the department, which will pay for up to 10 grams of weed a day for each veteran, had lost control of the program, although some veterans’ groups have pushed back, saying any reduction or change to the benefits will hurt injured ex-soldiers.

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