Canadian Public Employees Union Offers To Cover Weed For Members

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The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) will now provide insured members with up to $3,000 worth of medical marijuana per year.

The union, which represents approximately 130,000 members across Ontario, instituted a policy that allows employees to be reimbursed if they have a doctor’s prescription for a valid medical marijuana prescription.

The members will face no limitations when it comes to what medical conditions are eligible for the coverage,according to the website, Benefits Canada.

“It’s not up to us to decide what illnesses should be covered,” Ilana Goodman, administrator of employee relations at OPSEU, told Benefits Canada. “We wanted to treat it like any other medication.”

The union implemented the policy after reviewing research on medical marijuana and receiving input from employees.

“There are benefits to medical cannabis,” OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas told the Toronto Sun. “We’ve been working with the (insurance) carrier that we have, SSQ, and it took a bit, so for certain illnesses it’s a hell of a lot better than every day drugs.”

Thomas hopes that employers will follow the union’s lead by offering to cover medical marijuana for its employees. “I’m hoping we can get more employers interested in it,” he said.

Marijuana remains a Schedule II drug under Canada’s Controlled Drug and Substances Act. Canada places marijuana in its own category while drugs, like heroin and cocaine, falling under Schedule I classification. Possessing and selling cannabis for non-medical purposes is still illegal everywhere in Canada.

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Ted Goodman