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Medical Marijuana & Employee Benefits

Things to Know About Medical Marijuana Claims

  • Medical Marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 supervised by Health Canada and legislated by the Medical Marijuana Access Program, MMAP.
  • In 2014 this legislation was replaced by the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, MMRP and the use of medical cannabis is by prescription between doctor and patient.
  • Canadian Human Rights deals with medical cannabis in the workplace and no discrimination is allowed. This is covered under Duty to Accommodation legislation. This duty to accommodate does not extend to "benefits" at this time.

Will any employee benefit plan cover it like any other prescription?

Depends

  • To date in Canada, only one publicly known case has been reimbursed using an Administration Services Only, ASO, benefits plan. If your company has an ASO program, the expense can be flowed through like any other prescription. ASO programs are now available starting with one employee. Veterans and Workers Compensation coverage is reimbursed on an ASO basis.
  • Medical cannabis can also be reimbursed under "cost plus" arrangements through traditional plans, Health and Welfare Trusts, and Health Spending Accounts. A tax receipt is issued for income tax purposes when medical cannabis is purchased. This qualifies for reimbursement with these programs.
  • To our knowledge, there have been no "traditionally insured" benefit plans that have reimbursed any employee to date. There are current discussions ongoing with insurers.
  • If you want to offer this benefit to your employees there are ways to request modifications to existing benefit plans.
  • Two or three years from now, claiming medical cannabis will be so normal, it will be like getting a blood pressure prescription filled at your local pharmacy.

If you need some more detailed advice on
medical cannabis for your personal situation, give us a call
.

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