Sask. man fights compensation board over pot tab
A Saskatchewan man using prescribed marijuana is appealing a decision by the province's Workers' Compensation Board not to pay for the drug.
Robin Hove has been off work for six years, suffering post-traumatic stress.
While the injury he suffered on the job as a security guard is not in dispute, the prescription from his doctor — medical marijuana — is.
"I have to pay for that," Hove told CBC News in an interview this week. "It's like a third of my income."
When he was first diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome — after a confrontation with a thief — his doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals that didn't alleviate his symptoms, Hove said. For more than five years, as doctors tried different medications, he was unable to function normally.
"I never left the house. I stayed at home. The only place I ever went was with my wife. I didn't go anywhere else. For five and a half years, I was just locked in my house."
When his doctor put Hove on marijuana last year, his symptoms improved, but he's had to pay for the drug out of his own pocket.
Now he is concerned that if his marijuana bill, which comes to about $600 a month, is not covered he will become housebound again.
"So I am going to be put in a position where I am going back on the medication and be back in my house," Hove said.
Saskatchewan's Workers' Compensation Board says its drug coverage does not include medicinal marijuana.
The board told CBC News there is insufficient research on the medical benefits of the drug. The board also noted that marijuana is not listed in a catalogue of pharmaceuticals it uses as a guideline for which drugs it will cover.
Hove is appealing to the board's medical panel. He said the post-traumatic stress he suffers is related to an incident when he tried to apprehend a shoplifter and there was a scuffle. The shoplifter was bleeding from a cut lip and was on top of Hove.
"The blood came pouring out of his mouth," Hove recalled. "Into my eyes and into my mouth and I was just drowning in it."
Hove was told there was a risk he might have contracted HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS. In time, he learned he did not have the virus, but he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Hove was in the news for another reason recently, He was honoured for helping to subdue a machete-wielding man in a gas-bar robbery in Regina. Hove was sitting in a nearby coffee shop when he saw the commotion and took action.