Injured workers in Ontario, Canada who wish to treat their conditions with cannabis are being forced to use opiates instead. According to the CBC, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is refusing to cover cannabis for patients licensed to use medical marijuana.
Some private insurers in Canada began offering coverage for medicinal marijuana in health plans last year. And earlier this year, Sun Life Financial became the first major Canadian insurance company to pay for medical cannabis.
Pills or Pot?
David Newberry, an attorney with the Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic in Toronto, said that the WSIB often denies workers’ claims for cannabis coverage. Instead, the insurer pays for far more dangerous drugs.
“You often end up with these absurd scenarios where the WSIB is happy to pay for opiates and antidepressants that are not effective, that the worker does not want to take,” Newberry said.
Maurice Sagle, 60, is a former carpenter who was injured in a workplace accident that left him with a compressed spine, several crushed discs, and a ruptured leg muscle. The opiates that doctors prescribed caused side effects including depression that left him homebound. When he felt that he was becoming addicted, he