As we discussed in a previous article – The Canadian Government has proposed that the cannabis excise tax will be applied to both recreational and medical cannabis. Although the government does have some logic behind their decision, the overwhelming consensus is that this decision needs to be reconsidered. Just take a look at how this tax would affect our veterans.
It wasn’t long ago that Auditor General Michael Ferguson put it on Veterans Affairs to get a grip on its medical marijuana program for injured ex-soldiers, saying that officials saw a tidal wave of higher medicinal cannabis expenses coming in. This finding spurred Veterans Affairs Canada’s reimbursement policy on cannabis for medical purposes to adopt a limit of three grams of dried marijuana per day, or the equivalent of that in fresh marijuana or cannabis oil. VAC has also imposed a maximum price per gram that they would reimburse @ $8.50 per gram.
The three-gram cap, VAC says, comes from a collaboration of scientific evidence, and consultations with veterans, stakeholders, medical experts, and licensed producers. Health Canada published a fact sheet on daily dosage amounts for cannabis for medicinal purposes that appears on the new VAC Cannabis for Medical Purposes: New Reimbursement Policy page. The policy doesn’t limit how much a veteran can purchase (only their healthcare practitioner’s recommendation does that), but the new excise tax will make veterans non-subsidized cannabis less accessible.
On that same website, the VAC states that “As more is learned about the efficacy of cannabis, VAC may revise the reimbursement policy.” The good news is, one doctor is trying to learn more right now.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a non-profit currently conducting the first FDA- and DEA-approved clinical trial on whole-plant marijuana. The clinical trial, led by renowned Dr. Sue Sisley enrolled its 30th participant on October 26.
The U.S. VA estimates that about 22 veterans commit suicide every day; Sisley thinks that number is probably higher. In Canada, 130 soldiers have taken their lives since 2010, according to National Defence statistics; that number is also probably higher.
Dr. Sisley is focusing on veterans to examine the effects of cannabis on subjects with treatment-resistant PTSD. In her years studying medical marijuana, she has heard military spouses and children sing the praises of the drug—they have their partner or their dad back.
Is it just us, or is it not obvious that taxing a patient who is using cannabis for medical reasons is completely wrong?
The public has until Dec 7, 2017, to submit feedback on the proposal. Written email submissions should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.