Cannabis, Marijuana, Pot or Weed: Whatever you call it - What you want to know

Recreational Cannabis will soon be legal in Canada. The current anticipated date is October 17, 2018. As a result, everyone is talking about Cannabis. Here’s some information about medical Cannabis and travelling to the U.S.

Did you know that Medical Marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1999? There are a wide range of conditions that it is used for.  Gradually, the insurance companies are starting to add coverage for medical marijuana to their plans.   As an FYI, CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) accepts medical marijuana as a medical expense, so if you have a Health Spending Plan, expense away.

Every insurance company has a different list of medical conditions that they will cover. In most cases, you need to submit a "Prior Authorization" form to the insurance company before claims will be paid.  Some medical conditions that have been approved include:

Currently all medical marijuana purchases require a doctor's prescription and must be ordered online.

The two main chemicals in Cannabis that have been studied are:

Most Medical Marijuana is primarily CBD. Most patients currently purchase it as an oil, though topical creams and capsules are also available.  Other formats such as sprays, suppositories, transdermal patches, edibles and vaporizers are being developed.

Note: if you travel to the U.S., entry is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on duty - and they have a lot of latitude to ask questions to determine the admissibility of a foreign national. U.S. immigration lawyers are already warning Canadians that they could be denied entry to the U.S. - or barred from the U.S. for life - if they admit to smoking cannabis to a border agent. The drug is still a prohibited substance under U.S. federal law, despite legalization in some U.S. states.  Do not try to bring any Cannabis across the border.

If you have additional questions (such as how does this affect my workplace or what may be covered on your health plan) and want to discuss this area further, give me a call.

Heather Freed, CFPR, CLU, CHS

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