UBCO student health plan will cover medical cannabis

Mar 2 2018, 4:32 am

The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) campus will soon offer students the option of having medical cannabis covered by the school’s student health insurance plan.

The UBCO student union approved a pilot project that will test the medical coverage. Starting September 1, 2018, students who require pot for medical purposes can us their UBCO student medical plan to cover the cost.

UBCO student union president, Trophy Ewila, told Daily Hive that the school has allocated $20,000 of its medical budget towards the coverage.

“We started off with a smaller amount because we are gradually trying to learn how this will work,” said Ewila.

The Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy Okanagan is the group behind the project.

Ewila said he was impressed with Michelle Thiessen, who is the chair of the policy group, and her commitment to the pilot project.

“Thiessen is doing her research and she was committed even after [the pilot project] was first rejected,” said Ewila.

UBCO is the second school in Canada to have medical cannabis covered by its student health plan.

The University of Waterloo in Ontario implemented the coverage in 2015.

Ewila said the student union and the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy Okanagan consulted with Waterloo to gain a better understanding of how to implement the program.

Overall, Ewila said he’s supportive of the pilot program.

“It’s health and its innovation at the same time from students’ point of view,” said Ewila.

“Students need different kinds of medication and cost is a big factor.”

The pilot project will run for the entire 2018/2019 academic year. After that, Ewila said the school and student union will access its success.

“We are going to take a data-proven approach and if it works and if it is highly beneficial it will continue to be part of the student health and dental plan.”

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