N.S. medical marijuana user fights back after being turned aside by Air Canada
Published Wednesday, December 23, 2015 9:24AM AST
Air Canada is changing its policy on medical marijuana after a Nova Scotia man almost didn't make it home for the holidays.
Michael Korchak was travelling with the leaf form of prescription marijuana in his carry-on when he tried to board an Air Canada flight from Halifax to Toronto.
“I was told from the Air Canada employees was that medical marijuana is not allowed on Air Canada flights, and that the only acceptable form of medical marijuana onboard a flight would be in pill form,” said Korchak.
Korchak got through security without issue, but ran into trouble when he reached the gate.
“An Air Canada manager is there to tell me that I can't fly unless I get rid of it,” he said.
Korchak eventually gave up with Air Canada and bought a ticket through Porter Airlines, where he was able to fly to Toronto problem-free with medical marijuana on board.
Air Canada initially told Korchak he wouldn’t receive a refund, but eventually said he would be refunded immediately.
Korchak has yet to receive the money, and wants Air Canada to be held responsible for how he was treated.
“I was really embarrassed,” he said. “I have never really felt like I was a victim of discrimination before. This was the first time, and it was awful.”
Christopher Enns advocates for medical marijuana users. He knows many patients who take their medication on board flights without issue.
“(Users) would need their certification document from their licensed producer, as well as the packaging that the cannabis came in,” said Enns.
Korchak says he had all the required documents and the prescription bottle.
“I thought being up front would be the best way to go about it, just like everything else in life. And that really backfired.”
In a statement to CTV News, Air Canada says it’s amending its policy around medical marijuana to include both leaf and pill forms.
Korchak wants other passengers to be treated more fairly in the future.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Matt Woodman.