TORONTO, May 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) today welcomed a commitment of financial and other resources from licensed producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. in support of Gordon "Wayne" Skinner's defense in a potentially precedent-setting medical cannabis insurance coverage case.
In a January 30, 2017 landmark ruling, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission concluded that the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund committed discrimination by denying coverage for the medical cannabis Mr. Skinner uses to manage chronic pain and other conditions resulting from a work-related injury that left him permanently impaired.
Following the Commission's decision, the Board of Trustees filed an appeal against Mr. Skinner and the Commission in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. The appeal has been set for October 2, 2017.
CFAMM, a non-profit patient advocacy organization, has been providing strategic support to Mr. Skinner, and the commitment of resources from Aurora will ensure that Mr. Skinner has the ability to vigorously defend his case, including representation by a leading disability lawyer, Hugh Scher of Scher Law Professional Corporation in Toronto.
When conventional prescription medications failed to provide sufficient relief for his conditions, Mr. Skinner's physician prescribed medical cannabis, which offered superior symptom management compared to previous treatment regimens. In the Human Rights Commission ruling, Commission Board of Inquiry Chair Benjamin Perryman stated that he found Mr. Skinner "was discriminated against when he was denied coverage for medical marijuana by the trustees responsible for making decisions under his benefits plan."
"I am very grateful for Aurora's partnership in supporting Wayne Skinner and CFAMM's work on behalf of other patients across Canada who are defending their rights and advocating for fair treatment," said Jonathan Zaid, Founder and Executive Director of CFAMM. "There is now ample evidence that patients have had success managing the symptoms of a wide range of health conditions through the use of medical cannabis prescribed by their doctors. Medical cannabis should be eligible for insurance coverage in the same way as other prescribed medications."
"This is the right thing to do, and we're going to back CFAMM and Wayne Skinner all the way," said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora. "It is a matter of fundamental fairness and equality that these patients should be able to rely on their benefits plans to support prescribed medical treatment."
"The lack of coverage for medical cannabis, the only treatment that has worked for me, has caused extreme hardship on my family and has diminished my health," said Wayne Skinner. "The Trust Fund is charged with representing me and supporting my medical needs, yet they continue to unreasonably prolong this difficult situation. It makes no sense to me that, in managing my chronic pain for example, the Trust Fund would reimburse me for prescription opioid drugs, with their associated side effects and risk of dependence, but they continue to deny me coverage for medical cannabis."
About Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana
Founded in 2014, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) is a federal non-profit, patient-run organization dedicated to protecting and improving the rights of medical cannabis patients. CFAMM's goal is to enable patients to obtain fair and safe access to medical cannabis with a special focus on affordability, including private and public insurance coverage. For more information, visit www.cfamm.ca.
Aurora's wholly-owned subsidiary, Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., is a licensed producer of medical cannabis pursuant to Health Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations ("ACMPR"). The Company operates a 55,200 square foot, state-of-the-art production facility in Mountain View County, Alberta, and is currently constructing a second 800,000 square foot production facility, known as "Aurora Sky", at the Edmonton International Airport, and has acquired, and is undertaking completion of, a third 40,000 square foot production facility in Pointe Claire, Quebec, near Montreal. In addition, the company is the cornerstone investor with a 19.9% stake in Cann Group Limited, the first Australian company licensed to conduct research on and cultivate medical cannabis. Aurora's common shares trade on the TSX-V under the symbol "ACB".
SOURCE Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM)
For further information: Jonathan Zaid, Founder and Executive Director, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, 416-837-5972, [email protected], www.cfamm.ca; Cam Battley, Executive Vice President, Aurora Cannabis Inc., 905-864-5525, [email protected], www.auroramj.com