Canada Places Pot Limits for Medical Marijuana-Prescribed Veterans
Having found themselves up against increasingly overwhelming demands as well as massive costs going through the roof, the federal government has been searching for ways to reduce medical marijuana coverage costs, especially for veterans. In a controversial move, the Veterans Affairs Minister, Kent Hehr, intends to scale back the level of reimbursement for all veterans. The plan is to move back from the 10g limit at the moment and reduce it to as little as 3g per day.
Speaking at the Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Vancouver, Hehr stated that “now is the time to change” the policy for 10g of reimbursement. This comes after a long investigation that took place from March, headed by Hehr, to find out by marijuana prescriptions had exploded in the preceding months.
“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 stated.
He claims that in just eight years, Canada went from one veteran user to 3,000 – with large proportions of the group using as much as 10g in a single day each. The legislative changes will not take place until May 21st, 2017, so all veterans can continue at their normal allowance until the May deadline comes round.
Also, exceptions may be made for those who find themselves in special environments and have legitimate requirements for such a quantity. The aim is to have medical acknowledgement from a physician or pain specialist to try and limit the amount of abuse in the system for such amounts.
Also, an $8.50 limit per gram is likely to be imposed in the near future. This is a major boost for the market, as costs were seen to be one of the major prohibitive factors in some circles. Fears of exploitation of those who needed medical marijuana being outpriced in the past had become a reality, and this move will help to stop this from occurring in the first place.
One person who was all in favour of the change is Jonathan Ziad, the founder and executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana. He believes that the 3g limit is a fair one, for sure.
“I think that it remains to be seen how the exception process will work,” Ziad noted. “Veterans still have the opportunity, with the support of a physician, to get coverage past three grams a day — that’s the really important thing.”
It will be interesting to see where this change will lead to in terms of the long-term approach towards pricing and marijuana policy in general, especially for veterans moving forward in future.