HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Man Awarded $30,000 For Medical Marijuana Costs
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Jun 2011
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 The Vancouver Sun
Contact: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/letters.html
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/477
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun
Referenced: Read the judgment at http: //bit.ly/lIR2aw

MAN AWARDED $30,000 FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA COSTS

A Maple Ridge man should receive $30,000 to cover the cost of seven
joints of marijuana a day because of botched back surgery, the B.C.
Supreme Court has said in a potentially landmark decision.

Michael Joinson, a 43-year-old father of five teenagers who has a
federal exemption to use the prohibited drug, estimated he consumed 20
grams of medicinal cannabis daily after lower-back surgery in 2007.

He had asked the court to order payment for "a lifetime supply," which
he calculated would cost $822,000.

But Justice Neill Brown would only approve payment "based on a maximum
of five grams per day," he wrote, Health Canada's stipulated "safe"
dosage.

Also, he said, the cost of Joinson's recreational use (about half his
consumption) should not be covered, and the total had to be reduced to
account for the benefits of a chronic-pain program.

Head of the non-profit Always Growing Green Society, which operates
the year-old TAGGS Medical Cannabis Dispensary in the South Haney
neighbourhood, Joinson received a total of $310,000 in damages
- -including lost earnings and medical expenses -as a result of
negligent lower-back surgery by Dr. Navraj Heran.

Joinson said Tuesday he was glad the decision will set a precedent for
medicinal-cannabis users but was disappointed in the global award.

"It was supposed to be for the rest of my life," he
noted.

"What I go home with [after paying bills] is $110,000 or so for not
being able to do the things I could do for the rest of my life. That's
a drag. But of course, it's a huge win for all medicinal-marijuana
patients across Canada. The justice recognized the benefits of
medicinal cannabis and included it as future-care cost."

The court accepted the evidence that Joinson reduced his reliance on
morphine by managing his pain with cannabis.

"Without use of medical marihuana [the legal spelling of the plant's
name] or a synthetic substitute, Mr. Joinson would have to increase
his use of morphine, which is detrimental, particularly to his
functioning: he does not function as well, physically or mentally,
without use of medical marihuana," Justice Brown wrote. "His treating
physicians endorsed this treatment option, supporting him in his use
of medical marihuana. Other physicians may disagree, but his family
physician and psychiatrist see him on a regular basis and, in this
particular instance, are in the best place to consider what is
medically necessary."

Joinson had been suffering with lower back and left leg pain when he
went in for surgery, but three operations since 2007 left him with
chronic back pain and other discomforts.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.