Veteran claims government is reducing his daily dosage of medical marijuana
Published Friday, June 2, 2017 8:47AM ADT
A veteran who uses medical marijuana says he may eventually have to break the law because of reductions in coverage by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Cory Balcom of Sundridge, N.S., served three tours of duty in Afghanistan before coming home with PTSD, osteoarthritis and back pain.
He started taking opioids and medical marijuana in 2015 until finding the right pot dosage to take with no pills. It was all covered by Veterans Affairs.
“My prescriptions went from .67 to eight grams a day,” says Balcom. “I can function. I have my life back.”
But his life changed in November when Minister Kent Hehr announced Veterans Affairs would drastically reduce the amount of medical marijuana they would cover, from a maximum of 10 grams a day to three grams.
The new policy came into effect on May 21st, leaving veterans like Balcom with a choice to either apply for an exemption or pay the difference out of pocket.
“Everybody keeps telling me to go the illegal route and just grow it myself, so I don't know. Apparently I have to break the law,” Balcom says.
Long time MP and veterans advocate Peter Stoffer wonders how Veterans Affairs determined the numbers.
“The amount of medical cannabis for veterans should be determined by a doctor and their patient, and that one-on-one relationship that they have,” says Stoffer.
Balcom says his exemption claim for eight grams a day was denied, but the government will pay for five grams.
Balcom says that’s not enough.
“Your life's a number. It's hard watching your friends kill themselves every day. This isn't cool,” says Balcom.
Despite the setback, the Balcom says he will continue to fight.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.