PWA reinstate medical marijuana into the Financial Assistance program.

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Without notice or justification the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA) https://www.pwatoronto.org cut Medicinal  Marijuana (MMA) as a reimbursable expense from its Financial Assistance Program (FA) negatively impacting 100's of clients. 

PWA has a 1999 Board approved Position Statement supporting Medicinal Marijuana. https://www.pwatoronto.org/english/pdfs/PWA-position-medical-marijuana-1999.pdf It is seen as a medicine just as important as the HIV medications people take.  

We know that MMA specifically and significantly helps people living with HIV in the following ways:

  1. Appetite stimulant
  2. Anti Nausea
  3. Mood Improving / Anti Depressant
  4. Analgesic
  5. Reduces Peripheral Neuropathy  

Source: https://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/top-5-benefits-cannabis-hivaids/ 

However, PWA's clients are not only dealing with HIV, many, if not most, are also dealing with one or more of the comorbidities on this list. Contracting HIV makes people more susceptible to other ailments. Cutting MMA from the FA program not only takes away the 5 benefits list above, it takes away all of these known benefits to other diseases and symptoms as well, many in common with HIV.   

  1. It can be used to treat Glaucoma.
  2. It may help reverse the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and improve lung health.
  3. It can help control epileptic seizures.
  4. It also decreases the symptoms of a severe seizure disorder known as Dravet's Syndrome
  5. A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading.
  6. It may decrease anxiety.
  7. THC slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
  8. The drug eases the pain of multiple sclerosis.
  9. Other types of muscle spasms could be helped too.
  10. It lessens side effects from treating hepatitis C and increases treatment effectiveness
  11. Marijuana treats inflammatory bowel diseases.
  12. It relieves arthritis discomfort.


  13. It keeps you skinny and helps your metabolism.
  14. It improves the symptoms of Lupus, an autoimmune disorder.
  15. While not really a health benefit, marijuana spurs creativity in the brain.
  16. Marijuana might be able to help with Crohn's disease.
  17. Pot soothes tremors for people with Parkinson's disease.
  18. Marijuana helps veterans suffering from PTSD.
  19. Marijuana protects the brain after a stroke.
  20. It might protect the brain from concussions and trauma.
  21. It can help eliminate nightmares.
  22. Weed reduces some of the awful pain and nausea from chemo, and stimulates appetite.
  23. Marijuana can help people trying to cut back on drinking

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4/#res-whats-actually-happening-when-you-smoke-24 

For many years PWA's FA program was consistently set at $200,000. This is money that PWA has to raise itself since governments won't fund FA programs and its thanks to the Friends for Life Bike Rally http://bikerally.org that PWA has a FA program. 300 riders and 100 crew Bike from Toronto to Montreal every summer earning about $1,000,000 and the FA program is so important to PWA 20% goes to it. Within the FA program, MMA represented $1 out of every $4, 25%, $50,000, that clients could access for reimbursement. Cutting MMA from the FA program has had an immediate and significant negative impact on clients. This must be undone.

We the undersigned petition PWA to:

  1. immediately reinstate MMA as a reimbursable expense in the FA program
  2. retroactively reimburse clients from April 1st 2017 for the receipts they would have submitted, could they
  3. although PWA may need to adjust how much it can reimburse its clients for MMA, make a commitment that it will permanently be part of the FA program.


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