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article imageCanada's AG says amount of medical marijuana given Vets dangerous

By Marcus Hondro     May 3, 2016 in Politics
Canada's auditor general's annual Spring Report was tabled in the House of Commons today and Auditor General Michael Ferguson spoke with media about the content. One of the criticisms in his report concerns the amount of pot veterans are being permitted.
Treating Vets with pot
Veterans Affairs Department is allowing veterans to be treated with medical marijuana — often for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — up to 10 grams of pot daily, sometimes more, Ferguson said in Ottawa today.
However, Ferguson noted, veteran affairs has a report from Health Canada that suggests that is too high. Ferguson said that the government must do a better job of analyzing data and making policy based on reliable data.
In the area of pot that is especially so, he indicated. The medical marijuana program for vets will cost the taxpayer a whopping $25 million this year, he said. It is a figure Ferguson suggested is surprisingly high.
Medical marijuana dosage
The decision to allow a veteran being treated with medical marijuana up to 10 grams daily was not based on evidence, Ferguson found, and he noted that is was "poorly documented."
"Health Canada indicated that more than five grams per day may increase risks with respect to the drug's effect on the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and immune systems," his report said. "And on psychomotor performance, and may increase the risk of drug dependence."
This was an example in the report of the government not acting upon data; other issues include data being unusable because it is lacking in reliability. "Veterans Affairs Canada should implement a decision-making framework that specifies the type of evidence and how it is considered," the report said.
Unreliable data used
Overall, the AG took the government to task for handling of data in general. "I believe that government departments and organizations urgently need to turn their attention to this issue," Ferguson said at the news conference.
"They need to focus on collecting the right data to support their activities, on ensuring that data is well-managed and up-to-date, and on fully using this data not only to inform their core business, but also to support reporting and continuous improvement."
A government statement said they are prepared to implement changes in accordance with Ferguson's recommendations, including changes to policies surrounding Veteran Affairs and pot regulations.
More about Auditor General, ag michael ferguson, Medical Marijuana
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