Doctor has to pay for patient’s pot

Neurosurgeon admits to being negligent

A doctor has been ordered to pay the president of a Maple Ridge marijuana dispensary more than $300,000 following a botched back surgery.

Michael Joinson, who heads the non-profit Always Growing Green Society, which operates Taggs Medical Cannabis Dispensary, won a total settlement of $310,289.14 to cover his loss of earnings and medical care as well as medications to treat pain, including cannabis capsules, dried marijuana and cannabis blended into baked goods such as cookies.

Dr. Navraj Heran, a neurosurgeon, admitted he was negligent while performing a surgery on Joinson’s lower back, but denied the surgery was solely responsible for the gradual onset of his chronic pain.

Heran targeted the wrong vertebrae in the first operation, requiring Joinson to have two more surgeries to his lower back.

Joinson says he consented to the first surgery, did not consent to the second, and consented to the third.

Besides requesting compensation for wages lost because he is unable to work, Joinson submitted a claim of more than $800,000 to fund a lifetime supply of medical marijuana.

The court awarded Joinson far less for his medical costs, giving him a total of $50,469 (included in the total $300,000 settlement) for medication, including marijuana.

According to a written judgement released last week, Joinson said he smoked approximately 10 grams of marijuana a day to treat pain in his back and knee.

A doctor testified his use of marijuana had allowed him to reduce his consumption of morphine.

Taggs dispensary opened in Maple Ridge last year and currently has more than 300 members.

All members of Taggs must have documentation from Health Canada or a registered physician to buy marijuana.