Canadian insurers have been put on notice: A human rights board in Canada has ruled the health insurance provider of a Canadian medical marijuana patient must cover the cost of his medicinal cannabis.
Gordon Skinner, a Nova Scotia patient living with chronic pain caused by an on-the-job accident, got the ruling he’d been hoping for on Thursday.
Initially denied coverage for his medical marijuana use by his employee insurance and claiming discrimination because it, the provincial human rights commission found Mr. Skinner’s use of medical marijuana must be covered by his employee health insurance plan.
According to InsuranceBusiness.ca, Benjamin Perryman, the chairman of the inquiry, found the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan had indirectly discriminated against Mr. Skinner and were obligated to cover his current medical marijuana expenses.
“Denial of his request for coverage of medical marijuana … amounts to a prima facie case of discrimination,” Perryman’s ruling stated. “The discrimination was non-direct and unintentional.”
Absolutely, I’m sure it was “unintentional.”
Either way, more than a few are speculating the Canadian judgment could propagate the nationwide spread of Canada’s medical marijuana patients seeking justice through similar legal paths. The Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association’s Deepak Anand explained the synergistic effect of this case.
“If they could start to use this avenue to try to get their employers or insurance providers to start covering it, I think that’s going to be significant and we are going to see more of that.”
Helping to evolve the understanding of medicinal cannabis and its holistic efficacy, Mr. Anand viewed the ruling by the provincial Human Rights Commissions and its board of inquiry as significant. “[The board of inquiry is] finally recognizing that prescription [MMJ/cannabis] has some value, which so far the Canadian Medical Association and others have decided not to look at.”