Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marijuana Controversy In Nova Scotia

Yesterday afternoon, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ordered the Community Services Department to pay for Sally Campbell’s medical marijuana. Sally Campbell suffers a number of ailments and had a certificate from Health Canada permitting her to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. Being on welfare though, Ms. Campbell cannot afford to purchase marijuana.

Ms. Campbell's case began in 2005 when the Community Services Department denied her initial request that it designate her pot as a special need and increase her monthly allowance to cover the cost of it. Despite recommendations from her family practitioner and a specialist, Ms. Campbell was forced to take her case to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Headlines in Canada speak nothing to the headache caused to this woman over the past few years fighting this struggle, but only to the headache that will be suffered by Premier Dexter and the provincial government by the precedent this ruling may set. CBC.ca wrote "Medical pot decision worries N.S. premier", and the GlobeandMail wrote "N.S. medicinal pot ruling called a prescription for health care headache". The only neutral headline I could find was in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, "Court says N.S. must pay for patient’s marijuana".

There are several problems in this situation, but I'm going to begin with what's right in this situation, only because for some, I doubt its obvious.

The comments sections of the above mentioned articles are full of people deriding Ms. Campbell for being what one might consider a "welfare queen". There apparently seems to be a lot of people who feel Ms. Campbell is in the wrong and are appalled she is receiving medicinal marijuana for free.

Ms. Campbell is in the right. Anyone else in her situation would no doubt do the same thing. We're all entitled to take advantage of the opportunities put forward. She's in the right to expect that in a country that boasts health care for everyone, she need not be left out, no matter the cost that must be assumed by the province, no matter the headache caused to our esteemed NDP Premier.

Now, the wrong in this situation.

Medicine should be left between the patient and the doctor. If our government wishes to tax us and then provide health care, fine, but do not get involved with treatment. Treatment is not business of government bureaucrats. An individual's doctor has full responsibility in regard to recommending treatment, and in our system, the government has full responsibility in regard to providing the recommended treatment.

If the government doesn't feel it can trust the doctors, get out of the health care business.

At no time should Ms. Campbell have been subjected to a hearing of ignorant government bureaucrats when, as per CBC.ca, "The board said it didn't believe the benefits of medical marijuana have been scientifically proven." It is further disturbing that after this ruling, as per the Chronicle Herald, each applicant for medicinal marijuana coverage will be required to "appear before a special-needs hearing and prove that the marijuana improves their quality of life, works better than other medications and is essential to their health and well-being." That's right, if you're suffering from a painful disease and your doctor feels you require marijuana, you have to be submitted to the embarrassment of sitting in front of a group of bureaucratic leeches to justify the payment of your medicine. This is socialized health care at its finest.

And that brings us to whats really wrong with this situation. Socialized health care is rationed health care. Who rations it? The people that worry about paying the bills with the tax dollars they've taken from you. You see, our government and premier is more concerned about the cost this ruling will inflict on the government to perform its job than it is about the fact that its health care system didn't function well enough in the first place to provide Ms. Campbell her appropriate treatment 5 years ago. Ms. Campbell shouldn't be asking for an increase in her welfare checks to pay for pot, it should be covered by the Department of Health.

The following excerpt from the Globe and Mail puts on display our Premier's lack of concern for the well being of his sick constituents:
"An order to cover one may extend to other drugs as well," Dexter said Thursday. "The potential for the province to become liable for all manners of therapies, treatments outside of what coverage is normally provided is potentially there in this decision."

Dexter said the province must be protected from having to pay big bills as a result of the court decision, but he has no objections regarding the specific case.

"I'm concerned with the public policy question of how we fund the drugs that we have," he said.
Yes. God forbid the province be subject to paying big bills for providing the health care its promised to provide.

This could be much more simple. End socialized medicine and legalize pot. The government wouldn't have its troublesome health care bills to bitch about, and there would be such a high supply of marijuana around it'd be as cheap as water. If Ms. Campbell didn't have friends and family that would help her access her needed medicinal marijuana, I'd grow a plant just for her.

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