Pubdate: Wed, 09 Nov 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Lucie Edwardson
Page: 12


Health-care facilities should let her medicate as needed: User

When Vicky Penny has an anxiety attack she knows what will settle her
down: her prescribed medical marijuana.

Last week, while Penny was waiting for an appointment at Foothills
Hospital to speak with someone about some of her ongoing mental health
issues, she was overwhelmed with anxiety, so she stepped outside to

"It was about five minutes to my appointment and I was feeling
anxious, it was a big day," said Penny. "Security was dealing with
another matter in the smoking area so I decided to just go around the

Penny pulled out her marijuana pipe and began filling it with her
medicine - only to be approached by a security guard who told he she
couldn't have it out there, let alone use it.

"They can't stop me from using my medicine. Are they going to stop
someone taking a prescribed pill?" questioned Penny.

Metro reached out to Alberta Health Services who provided an emailed

"AHS works with medical marijuana users to accommodate their medical
needs, while protecting the safety and wellness of staff, patients and
the public," they said. "This is about the balance between patient
need and the health and safety of other patients, staff and visitors."

Penny said she would like to see changes, so that she and other
medicinal marijuana users aren't forced off AHS property or to hide
when they need to medicate.

"I have a prescription for this because of my mental health concerns,
one of which is my severe anxiety, so when it comes to that I can't
leave the property - I was in a full-blown anxiety attack," she said.

Vicky's mother, Brenda Penny, said she'd like to see Vicky and others
who depend on medical marijuana treated more fairly.

"Seeing as it's used for medicinal purposes, I'm not very happy there
are all these restrictions," she said. "I think it's time they start
accepting it in the medical arena and facilities."

AHS said only vaporizers and e-cigarettes may be used outdoors on AHS
property, but Vicky said she would like to be able to smoke from her
pipe as it requires a much smaller dose, which is important for
someone on a budget.

"Vaporizers cost about $150 - I can't afford that and I have to spread
out my doses for a month, so smoking from a pipe just makes more sense
for me," she said.

AHS said their patient relations representatives are always available
to discuss patient care with patients and families who may have
concerns about treatment and care.
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