Canadian veterans have been legally medicating with medical marijuana since 2013 and are being reimbursed by their government for up to ten grams a day.
It’s part of their national move to go green.
But the costs are adding up – and officials are about to enforce a cap on the daily allowance from ten grams, to three a day.
Initially, the yearly cost to the Canadian government was a couple thousand dollars for about a hundred vets; now there’s more than a thousand vets medicating with MILLIONS of dollars’ worth of cannabis.
Between April and September of 2016 alone, Veterans Affairs Canada spent about $31 million on cannabis for medical purposes – $10 million more than the entire year before.
It’s not going to happen overnight
Veterans will have until May 22, 2017 to adjust, and if deemed necessary, a medical professional can submit an application with an explanation to the department for additional medical marijuana. Any recommended medical marijuana over the three grams must be paid for by the patient.
In preparation for the cap, the Canadian agency announced they will establish a price point of up to $8.50 per gram. It’s to create a fair market value price for what veterans are charged, and what the department is spending when they ultimately pick up the prescription bill.
According to Veterans Affairs Canada, “while cost savings is a secondary consideration to the health and well-being of Veterans, the Auditor General made it clear that Veterans Affairs Canada is also required to ensure good value for money in the administration of its programs.”
The program is only good for dried marijuana, fresh marijuana, and cannabis oil when it is purchased from a licensed producer in Canada. Home grows do not apply. However, they do throw in a free vaporizer for qualifying veterans!
It’s a sign of the marijuana times that the Canadian government is pivoting in-step with the lessons learned from their medical marijuana market.
Recreational legalization in Canada
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on board with the program, and wants to take it a step further with national legalization in 2017.
The reasons behind his promise to bring legal adult-use is two pronged: Babies, and the black market.
“…whatever you might think or studies seen about cannabis being less harmful than alcohol or even cigarettes, the fact is it is bad for the developing brain and we need to make sure that it’s harder for underage Canadians to access marijuana. And that will happen under a controlled and regulated regime.”
Unfortunately, Canada was number one when it comes to underage access to marijuana, according to a United Nations study.
“The other piece of it is there are billions upon billions of dollars flowing into the pockets of organized crime, street gangs and gun-runners, because of the illicit marijuana trade, and if we can get that out of the criminal elements and into a more regulated fashion we will reduce the amount of criminal activity that’s profiting from those, and that has offshoots into so many other criminal activities. So those are my focuses on that.”
The Canadian task force charged with publishing their legalization recommendations is almost ready for review. It could be submitted any week now.
“…our focus is on protecting kids and protecting our streets,” added PM Trudeau.