HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html MS Sufferer Wins Right to Use Pot Vapourizer
Pubdate: Tue, 18 Dec 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 CanWest News Service
Cited: Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)


NANAIMO -- Pam Edgar has won her fight to have the provincial 
government pay for a device she says is needed for her to use 
marijuana to ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

The government, which earlier refused to pay for a $200 marijuana 
vapourizer, has been forced to reverse its decision following the 
unanimous decision of an appeal tribunal.

Pam Edgar has been legally using marijuana for two years to help 
reduce the pain of her multiple sclerosis, but as an asthmatic, the 
smoke causes other health problems. Vapourized pot allows her to 
inhale cannabinoids from marijuana without any of the carcinogens 
that tighten and block the airways to her lungs.

Edgar is one of 2,200 Canadians who carry and smoke pot under the 
marijuana medical access regulations, but she could be the first in 
B.C. to have the province pay for a device that allows her to obtain 
the benefits of the plant without any smoke.

Given the minimal cost of the vapourizer, she wonders why she had to 
endure such a "daunting" tribunal. After the Ministry of Employment 
and Income Assistance denied her request for a vapourizer, Edgar 
appealed the decision and went through a three-month tribunal process 
that cost more than double the price of her $200 Vapor Daddy.

And in the end, anyone looking for their own device will likely have 
to go through a similar process because "none of the decisions are 
precedent-setting," according to Frances Sasvari, executive director 
for the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal.

Even though panel members are not bound to any preceding decision, 
Edgar's tribunal will send a message to the medicinal marijuana community.

"That's quite groundbreaking news because a lot of people have been 
wondering if vapourizers are considered medical devices," said Eric 
Nash, a certified and designated medicinal marijuana producer in B.C. 
"In my view (they are), because (vapourizers) are eliminating the 
particulate matter in the smoke."

Using pot has been one of many methods Edgar uses to relieve the pain 
from her MS, which can be considerable. There are nights when she 
can't feel her fingertips as she types out her music recordings or 
her award-winning essays from her computer keyboard. She uses a 
walking stick when she stands or walks up stairs and after a 
volunteer shift at CHLY Radio Malaspina, her legs suffer considerable fatigue. 
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