VANCOUVER, Nov. 22, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, today announced a new reimbursement policy on cannabis for medical purposes. The new policy establishes a reimbursement limit of three grams per day of cannabis for medical purposes sold by licensed producers or the equivalent value in fresh marijuana or cannabis oil. Understanding that any transition can be challenging, Veterans being reimbursed for more than three grams per day will have until May 21, 2017 at their current amount if authorized by their health care practitioner.
There will also be an exceptional circumstances process for Veterans authorized for more than three grams per day that will ensure their health and well-being through consultation with relevant medical specialists.
Consistent with how the Department administers its other health care benefits, a rate of up to $8.50 per gram has been established. The rate will ensure that what Veterans are charged, and the Department reimburses, is a fair market value price.
To inform the new reimbursement policy, Veterans Affairs Canada conducted a review of the guidelines and procedures relating to the reimbursement of cannabis. The Department consulted with Veterans, stakeholders, medical experts and licensed producers. The Cannabis for Medical Purposes reimbursement policy balances anecdotal evidence from Veterans and stakeholders with current available evidence. The health and well-being of Veterans is at the forefront of this new approach.
"In March of 2016, I was surprised to learn that Veterans Affairs Canada did not have a policy on marijuana for medical purposes. I tasked my department with reviewing marijuana for medical purposes and this new reimbursement policy is the result. We consulted with Veterans, their advocates, stakeholders, medical experts and reviewed existing research on using marijuana for medical purposes and developed a balanced policy. This policy has the health and well-being of Veterans and their families at its heart. Veterans Affairs will continue to monitor developments in the field of marijuana for medical purposes and as new information becomes available we will be flexible, adapt and adjust as required."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada and Associate Minister of National Defence
- In 2014, the College of Family Physicians of Canada suggested when physicians authorize cannabis for medical purposes that they start low and go slow.
- Together with the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department will develop a research plan and conduct a study that will strengthen evidence on the effects of marijuana on the health of Veterans.
- Cannabis for medical purposes is an evolving area of treatment and Veterans Affairs Canada will monitor information as it become available and adjust the policy to ensure the well-being of our Veterans and their families.
* College of Family Physicians of Canada. Authorizing Dried Cannabis for Chronic Pain or Anxiety: Preliminary Guidance from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Mississauga, ON: CFPC; 2014.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sarah McMaster, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649