Canadian medical marijuana producers are pushing for Veterans Affairs to provide reimbursements for soldiers who choose cannabis oils over dried plant material, according to a Globe and Mail report. Currently, soldiers are only reimbursed for flower purchases.
The push comes even after the Supreme Court last year ruled Health Canada was putting patients at risk of cancer and bronchial infections by allowing only dried cannabis. More than 1,700 veterans participate in the publicly funded medical marijuana program.
When Tilray launched its oil-based offerings last March, 183 bottles were sold to veterans, who believed they would be reimbursed under the medical marijuana program. In June, just four bottles were sold to veterans due to the program rules.
On Aug. 4, Phillipe Lucas, executive director of the Canadian Medical Council, launched an e-petition urging the department to provide the reimbursements. New Democrat MP Sheila Malcomson has sponsored the petition, which has over 200 signatures so far, and will remain open until Dec. 2.
Advocates say that people who smoke cannabis must dose more frequently than those who use oil-based medicines. The Health Department says that due to medical marijuana being “a new and emerging area in the medical field…there is no commonly accepted practice for the use or dosage of specific products.” However, the VA indicated that it planned on overhauling the existing rules “in the near future.”
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