The Nova Scotia government has been ordered to sponsor the medical marijuana growing operation of a woman who says she's too poor to pay for the equipment herself.
The Department of Community Services must pay a one-time setup cost of $2,500 and $100 every three months for supplies, an appeal board ruled.
The Income Assistance Appeals Board concluded that the Amherst woman's need for marijuana was real, and since she has no other means, the department should assist her rather than pay for her pot.
The board stated that her request seems quite reasonable in comparison to what the department pays for other medications.
Tanya couldn't be happier.
"When I don't smoke marijuana I have so much pain that I don't want to get out of bed. I have no energy, I don't want to do nothing," she told CBC News.
Tanya doesn't want her last name used. She fears the grow operation she shares with her husband will be targeted by thieves.
Tanya and Sam, both in their 40s, use marijuana to lessen their pain. She has injuries suffered in a car crash, while he has glaucoma and a blood disorder.
They both have licences from Health Canada to grow medical marijuana for their own use. Between them, they have permission to grow up to 25 plants, but right now they can only afford to have six, so they sometimes run through their supply.
Sam said he cannot understand why the department turned down the request in the first place.
"It's seriously a miracle drug that needs to be recognized a lot more than it's recognized at this point in time," he said.
The Department of Community Services is considering its response to the decision.
Spokeswoman Kristen Tynes said Monday the department had referred the decision by the Income Assistance Appeals Board to its legal counsel to determine the next step.
Sam was preparing to represent his wife in court in October. Sam is still preparing a separate lawsuit against the department, the cabinet minister and the appeals board.
In Nova Scotia
As of May, 1,133 people in Nova Scotia were allowed to have marijuana for medical purposes.
It's not known how many people in the province have licences to grow it. Health Canada says it won't provide a provincial breakdown for privacy reasons.
This isn't the first time the province has faced a legal challenge over medical marijuana.
Last year, a Halifax woman on income assistance won her fight to get the province to pay for her pot as a special need.
Sally Campbell 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 pot.