Govt. pays woman to grow pot

June 20, 2011 at 7:08 PM

AMHERST, Nova Scotia, June 20 (UPI) -- The Nova Scotia government has been ordered to pay for the medical marijuana growing equipment of an Amherst woman who says she's unable to pay for it herself.

The Income Assistance Appeals Board ordered the Department of Community Services to pay a one-time setup cost of $2,500 and a fee of $100 every three months for supplies to a woman identified only as Tanya and her husband, Sam -- who declined to use his last name due to fear thieves would target his grow operation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The Cumberland County couple, both in their 40's, disabled and on income assistance, use medical marijuana to lessen their pain. Sam has a blood disorder and glaucoma and Tanya has injuries arising from a car crash. Health Canada awarded them licenses to grow a total of 25 marijuana plants but the couple said they didn't have the money to pay for the lighting costs, the CBC said.

The Income Assistance Appeals Board found Tanya's need for the medical marijuana was authentic, and concluded the Department of Community Services should assist her.

"When I don't smoke marijuana I have so much pain that I don't want to get out of bed. I have no energy, I don't want to do nothing," Tanya told CBC News.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said he's concerned the ruling could set a precedent that the province would have to pay for other drugs currently not on its list, the CBC reported.

"An order to cover one may extend to other drugs as well," Dexter said. "The potential for the province to become liable for all manners of therapies, treatments outside of what coverage is normally provided is potentially there in this decision."

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