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MONTREAL – Quebec’s auto insurance protection agency has been ordered to pay $5,000 to a Quebec man so that he can grow and smoke marijuana in his home.
The man, whose name is protected under provincial law, suffered injuries after a car crash in 1986.
The man, in his 40s, initially requested insurance coverage for marijuana to help treat back spasms, as he said traditional medication did not work.
It was refused.
But in an unprecedented decision made by administrative
tribunal officials in Quebec, which hears appeals from citizens for decisions of provincial departments, said necessary steps must be taken to help with the rehabilitation of citizens injured in car crashes.
That means paying $5,000 for a hydroponic greenhouse in the man’s home, as well as covering water, electricity, plants and soil expenses.
The tribunal judges said this case was “special.”
In their decision, the two judges wrote that all previous medication prescribed for this man was ineffective, particularly for his spasms.
The man’s spine was badly damaged in the crash.
“The tribunal is well aware of the controversial attitudes regarding the therapeutic use of marijuana,” the judges wrote. “There is no medical consensus for this type of treatment. Therefore, we have to rely on the personal experiences of the people involved in order to appreciate the benefit of marijuana use.”
Officials from Quebec’s insurance regulator said smoking pot is not recognized by the medical community for its therapeutic use.
“This decision is essentially a first,” said a spokesperson for the agency. “We are studying the possibility of appealing the judgement.”
The man used to smoke marijuana illegally, which led to several arrests and criminal charges. He has since received a license from Health Canada to grow and smoke marijuana for personal use.
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