CAN: Ottawa on track to spend $200M per year on cannabis for veterans

Ottawa is reimbursing a record number of veterans for medical cannabis, with new figures showing the federal government shelled out more than $150 million in the last fiscal year, more than double the amount just three years ago.

And that is only the beginning, as the figures from Veterans Affairs, Canada reveal the government is on track to spend nearly $200 million this year as more and more former service members ask the government to pay for their cannabis.

While experts and advocates are uncertain about the reasons for the surge, they agree about the need for more information on the real benefits and potential harms of medical cannabis for veterans — and taxpayers paying for it.

“We desperately need better evidence to understand these policies and if the current usage is likely to have more benefit or do more harm,” said Jason Busse, associate director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University.

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