A record number of Canadian military veterans have received medical cannabis reimbursements. The federal government spent more than $150 million last fiscal year. The amount has doubled from only three years ago.
Veterans Affairs Canada is on track to spend $200 million on medical cannabis reimbursements this year.
Medical Cannabis Reimbursements for Vets
The rationale behind the reimbursements is the 2008 court decision requiring the federal government to provide “reasonable access” to medical cannabis. And it makes sense when the federal government already reimburses vets for pharmaceuticals.
The demand among veterans has soared since 2016. In November, the government overhauled how it dealt with medical cannabis reimbursements. The government reduced the amount of cannabis it would cover as a reimbursement, as well as the cost.
So-called “experts” applauded the decision, as they equate an absence of evidence as evidence of absence. Some believe military veterans are abusing cannabis to avoid their psychological trauma. But this is just further evidence of the cannabis industry‘s public health problem.
Can Canadians Afford This?
The November 2016 overhaul slashed medical cannabis reimbursements to three grams per day from the previous ten. The government gave those using more than three grams six months to either wean themselves down or find an additional means of income to afford their medicine.
Slashing medical cannabis reimbursements for vets came in the wake of an auditor general report. Citing “public health experts,” they decided that ten grams per day were too much.
Some can’t imagine putting a price on treating Canada’s vets with dignity. But the fact is that the year-over-year increase in medical cannabis reimbursements is unsustainable in the long term.
Should Vets Get Medical Cannabis Reimbursements?
Should Canada’s military veterans receive medical cannabis reimbursements? Most Canadians would likely argue yes. Whatever the annual cost, national defence is the federal government’s top priority (or, at least, it should be). And if that means combat vets need ten grams of medical cannabis per day for the rest of their lives – so be it.
If the federal government wants to reduce these costs, there are several ways to do it.
One: Suppose the federal government wants the number of vets with PTSD and requiring medical cannabis reimbursements to go down. In that case, they can stop requiring our military to engage in activities that cause trauma.
They can stop sending Canada’s military to parts of the world where we have no business. “Peacekeeping” missions in Yugoslavia or Rwanda are an Orwellian way of describing war.
Two: They can defund other areas of the government. The federal government’s first (and some would argue, only) function is national defence.
All additional government bureaucracies can be gutted or downsized to the provincial government. Or, ideally, returned to the private sector that handles resource allocation more efficiently and effectively.
Three: They can liberalize the cannabis industry, resulting in lower prices. Lower prices for the same or higher amounts of cannabis mean the cost of medical cannabis reimbursements goes down, even as usage or the number of vets increases.
A record number of Canadian military veterans receive medical cannabis reimbursements. This number increases year after year. Capping what vets can claim is a short-term solution if one can even call it a solution. “This is purely a cost-saving endeavour,” says Michael Blais, founder of Canadian Veterans Advocacy.
However, the most insulting part of all this is the “public health experts” suggesting that military vets are avoiding their problems or trauma by consuming medical cannabis instead of some toxic pharmaceutical.
The next time the Canadian government wants to engage in a conflict overseas, perhaps we can send politicians and public health busybodies instead. Keep the troops home. Station them in the Arctic. We have a lot of work to do up there. Russia is already claiming parts of the Arctic circle for itself.
We shouldn’t be so foolish as to believe that territory belongs to Canada just because it says so on a map.