Workers' Compensation says medicinal marijuana not covered
Judge rules board can deny coverage for injured Regina worker
A Regina judge has ruled the Workers' Compensation Board can refuse to pay for medicinal marijuana.
The ruling comes in the case of Carey Heilman, who was hurt at work three decades ago and uses marijuana to cope with the pain.
Last year, Heilman won a victory in the Court of Queen's Bench that allowed him to get a new hearing. That judge told the Workers' Compensation Board to take another look. It did and once again denied coverage.
Last month, a second judge ruled that the board has the ability to make that decision.
The ruling is disappointing for Heilman, who said the drugs the board does cover make him sick.
"I would have to take a list of pharmaceutical medications as long as your arm and have horrible side-effects and not be able to function at all," Heilman said.
Workers' Compensation argued marijuana is potentially unsafe and its positive effects are not clinically proven.
Heilman said he isn't sure what to do next.
"I really feel like the cards are stacked against me and it seems like every avenue I go down is a dead end," he said. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, you know, you probably sit around, eat Doritos and play Xbox all day.' It ain't that. This is a medicine."
Heilman said he uses $800 worth of marijuana each month to cope with his injured back.