In a landmark ruling, the Nova Scotia Human Rights board, ruled that the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust plan must cover the medical cannabis prescribed to Gordon Skinner.
We italicized landmark because this ruling did not need to happen. This hearing did not need to occur. If the trustees behind the Trust Plan had explored the short and easy-to-read history of medical cannabis coverage in Canada, they would have surely noticed that the precedent has already been set. Voluntarily at that!
SunLife Insurance, aka the champion of medical patients, recently agreed to cover the medical cannabis costs for University of Waterloo student Jonathan Zaid.
In a true landmark self-ruling SunLife agreed that medical cannabis which Mr. Zaid used to treat his severe, re-occurring migranes is an acceptable alternative treatment and eligible for prescription coverage. Just like pharmaceutical prescriptions. Because that’s what cannabis is. Medicine.
It is a decision which required no bitter battle, no dollars wasted, no patients humiliated and no stress for anyone. It was simply common sense logic, mixed with a bit of compassion and fused together with undeniable medical evidence. Prior to trying cannabis for his conditions, Mr. Zaid piled through 48 different pharmaceuticals. His daily pill regiment included insurance coverage for a $45 cocktail of mood, pain and sleep meds. His new cannabis coverage is only $30.
The Human Rights Board of Nova Scotia Ruled that "Denial of (Mr. Skinner’s) request for coverage of medical marijuana ... amounts to a prima facie case of discrimination." “The discrimination was non-direct and unintentional.''
It shouldn’t have come to this. If the Elevator Trust Plan had reviewed the recent history pertaining to this subject, they would surely have noticed that history is not on its side. Neither is precedence. Better yet, they could equally have employed compassion and common-sense to demonstrate to its union members that health of its members matters, regardless of the medicine used.
Cannabis is clearly medicine. This is no longer disputable. Only the staunchiest prohibitionists question the plant’s medical validity. But true patient stories are the ultimate research. No amount of political fear-mongoring will overcome the hundreds of thousands of patients who report life-changing health benefits form various forms of cannabis.
With the leadership of SunLife as a true crusader for patients’ rights and their coverage, it is only a matter of time until other, like-minded insurance companies jump on board.
Information for this post was compiled from Huffington Post, CBC.ca and Financial Post as follows: