On Thursday, Nova Scotia’s highest court overturned a provincial human rights board decision that said an injured man's legally prescribed medical marijuana must be covered by his union insurance plan, marking a significant setback for medical cannabis advocates.
Following a car crash in a company vehicle in 2010, Gordon Wayne Skinner now suffers from chronic pain disorder, which includes anxiety and depression.
He was prescribed narcotics and anti-depressants, but they didn't work and caused serious side effects. He started using medical marijuana in 2012, on the advice of his psychologist. All parties in the case agreed that the drug was working for him.
In February 2017, a human rights board agreed with Skinner, saying he faced unintentional discrimination because the exclusion of coverage was inconsistent with the purpose of the insurance plan: "It had the adverse effect of depriving him of the medically necessary drug prescribed by his physician, even though the ... plan covered other special requests for medically necessary drugs prescribed by physicians for other beneficiaries," the board said in its decision.
On Thursday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals reversed this decision.
For so many Canadians, cannabis is the only medication that effectively treats their condition and improves their quality of life but around 60% of patients can’t afford the dose their doctor recommends.
If this issue is important to you, I encourage you to contact your local MP and reach out to your benefits plan administrator. The more people they hear from, the more likely change will come.
Canadians shouldn't have to choose between paying for electricity and food versus medication.