N.S. must pay for woman's medical marijuana
The provincial Department of Community Services has been ordered to pay for the medical marijuana used by a woman on income assistance.
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ruling was released Wednesday.
Sally Campbell of Halifax has Health Canada's blessing to smoke pot to deal with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic Hepatitis C.
She receives income assistance from the Department of Community Services and asked for an increase in her allowance to cover the cost of medicinal marijuana as a special need.
The department declined.
"We follow the Department of Health [list] of allowed drugs," said community services spokesperson Linda Laffin. "To the best of my knowledge, medical marijuana is not covered."
Campbell's doctor told the department's assistance appeal board it was essential for her health and was refused again.
The board said it didn't believe the benefits of medical marijuana have been scientifically proven.
A justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that whether the benefits have been proven is not for the Department of Community Services to decide and ordered it to start paying for Campbell's marijuana.
Legal aid lawyer Donna Franey said it's an important victory. "[It's] recognition that this is a legitimate medication that actually does improve the quality of life for some people," she said. "It's essential and it should be covered by community services."
Minister of Community Services Denise Peterson-Rafuse said the department's lawyers are still reviewing the decision and have not decided whether to appeal.