A drain or strain on health care system?

Thank you for giving us an insight into what medical marijuana users can expect under the new regulations.

Editor, The News:

Re:  Would you eat at restaurants three times a day (Letters, Jan 18).

Thank you, David Hutchinson, for giving us an insight into what medical marijuana users can expect under the new regulations.

I would like to offer a further example.

Let’s take the hypothetical situations of two identical MS patients, both living on government disability of $912 per month and both currently using five grams per day of home-grown marijuana, which has minimal cost to them and none at all to taxpayers.

Patient A realizes he will not be able to afford the more than $1,300 a month that it will cost to purchase the commercially-produced drug and has no alternative but to switch to another drug that will be covered by Fair Pharmacare, despite the fact that this replacement comes with horrendous side effects.

Patient B is reluctant to give up the beneficial effects of medical marijuana and chooses to continue to grow his 25 plants, albeit illegally.

Now, let’s extend our hypothesis.

Patient A now requires more medication to deal with his serious side effects and he is also at risk of developing leukemia (a common side effect of a drug used to treat MS). His quality of life has deteriorated and he is suffering from depression. He has become a drain on the health care system and thus on taxpayers.

Patient B has been arrested for production of a controlled substance and could go to jail. He will have a criminal record and will also now have to accept the same inferior and expensive health care that Patient A receives.

Government policy has now made victims of two people and drastically increased the burden on taxpayers.

Multiply this scenario by the thousands of current users and the problem becomes a disaster.

Surely it is possible to institute controls on the production and use of marijuana without causing distress and difficulty to sick people and those who seek to help them.

Medical marijuana is cheap and highly effective health care and its loss will cause a serious impact on current users, as well as increasing health care costs.

Anne Rostvig

Maple Ridge

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