|Photo: Ian Lindsey/Postmedia News|
|Grow lights and supplies courtesy of the Canadian government.|
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has been ordered to pay for the medical marijuana growing equipment of a woman who said she can’t afford it herself.
The Income Assistance Appeals Board ordered the Department of Community Services to pay a one-time setup cost of $2,500 and a fee of $100 every three months for additional supplies to an Amherst woman identified only as Tanya and her husband, Sam. The couple’s last name wasn’t used due to fears that thieves would target their marijuana grow operation, reported the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The couple, both in their 40s, disabled and on income assistance, use medical marijuana. Sam has glaucoma and a blood disorder, and Tanya has injuries from a car crash. Health Canada awarded the Cumberland County couple licenses to grow up to 25 cannabis plants, but the couple said they didn’t have the money to pay the lighting costs.
“When I don’t smoke marijuana I have so much pain that I don’t want to get out of bed,” said Tanya. “I have no energy; I don’t want to do nothing.”
Sam said he can’t understand why the department turned down the request in the first place, reports CBC News.
“It’s seriously a miracle drug that needs to be recognized a lot more than it’s recognized at this point in time,” Sam said.
The Department of Community Services is still considering how it might respond to the decision.
The department has referred the Income Assistance Appeals Board decision to its attorney to determine the next step, spokeswoman Kristin Tynes said on Monday.
Sam, who was preparing to represent his wife in court in October, is still preparing a separate lawsuit against the department, the cabinet minister and the appeals board.
This isn’t the first time Nova Scotia has faced a legal challenge from low-income medical marijuana patients. Last year, a Halifax woman on income assistance won her fight to have the provincial government pay for her cannabis as a special need.
Sally Campbell, who suffers from chronic pain and nausea, turned to the court after Community Services turned down her request for an increase in her income assistance. The court later ruled that it wasn’t up to the department to decide if the benefits of medical marijuana have been proven, and ordered it to start paying for Campbell’s cannabis.
Nova Scotia had the most licensed marijuana grow operations per capita in Canada last year, according to Statistics Canada, reports Greg Burchell at the National Post.