Medical Cannabis for Veterans
November 9, 2018
In post-cannabis legalization Canada, many things have changed. However, helping veterans access medical cannabis is not one of them. Thanks to specific rules within the Cannabis Act and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Canadian veterans are eligible for medical cannabis coverage. Here are the guidelines:
The Cannabis Act allowances
Replacing the previous Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) as of October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act allows patients to purchase medical cannabis through a Health Canada-approved licensed producer, as well as the ability to grow cannabis at home. All adult Canadians may grow up to four plants at home, however medical-specific patients may also register with Health Canada to grow more than four plants, depending on their daily gram prescription as calculated by a physician. However, it is important to note veterans growing their own cannabis will not be financially reimbursed. It is the VAC’s opinion that cannabis grown at home cannot be tested for quality, so product safety cannot be assured. All adult Canadians—including veterans—may purchase legally obtained recreational cannabis. However, only cannabis purchased through a Health Canada-approved medical licensed producer, through a valid prescription (“Medical Document”), will be eligible for financial reimbursement.
VAC coverage regulations
Veterans Affairs Canada has a comprehensive reimbursement policy on cannabis for medical purposes. It is intended to help veterans access their medicine without having to worry about the financial burden. The policy covers up to a maximum of three grams per day (90 grams a month) of dried flower, or its equivalent in fresh cannabis or cannabis oil. Daily limits over three grams can be approved by VAC with appropriate medical documentation on a limited and case-by-case basis when necessary.
Additionally, this coverage applies to a maximum rate of up to $8.50 per gram. This means that VAC will only cover $8.50 or lower per gram, and the veteran will be financially responsible for the remaining amount for any strain over $8.50. (That is, unless you are an Emblem patient. Keep reading to learn more.)
Types of cannabis covered
VAC will reimburse eligible veterans for their purchase of dried flower or its equivalent in fresh cannabis or extracts (like our oils and sublingual sprays). Per Health Canada regulations, licensed producers selling oils and extract products must offer equivalency information to convert the dried flower grams into the same amount of another format. If you are a patient with approval for dried cannabis, you do not need a separate approval to purchase oils, as VAC lets you switch back and forth until your prescription’s expiry date. Edibles and other concentrates are currently not covered under the Cannabis Act or VAC programs.
To be eligible
To qualify for aid, veterans must no longer be active service members and must be eligible for coverage from VAC with an authorized K number. Many licensed producers, such as Emblem, will coordinate with VAC for you, submitting the necessary documents, ensuring you have coverage and arranging for direct billing. During registration, send Emblem’s Client Care team a copy of your diagnosis, ensuring it exactly matches what’s in your VAC file and provide us with your authorized K number. We will do the rest.
Emblem’s coverage commitment
We are committed to covering the remainder of the cost (per gram) over your $8.50 VAC limit on dried flower. This means that if your strain is $10/g the government will cover $8.50/g and Emblem will pay the difference, covering the remaining $1.50/g. Emblem will also cover 20% on cannabis oil products (after the VAC discount).
Our good faith veteran program means that after registering with Emblem as a veteran, Emblem will cover the first $8.50/g (plus the remaining balance as explained above) for your first month as we await approval for coverage by VAC. If Emblem does not receive approval after one month, the patient will revert to normal pricing until approval is received and processed by our Client Care team.
For questions regarding eligibility with VAC, please contact Veterans Affairs Canada at 1-866-522-2122 and for questions directed toward Emblem, please call us at 1-844-546-3633 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org