Alberta Medical Marijuana Patient Goes on Hunger Strike After Denial of Health Services

CANNABIS CULTURE – Government-licenced medical marijuana user Lisa Kirkman is fighting back against new rules effectively banning the use of cannabis vaporizers at Alberta Health Services (AHS) hospitals and clinics.

Kirkman uses medical marijuana to relieve multiple conditions including severe arthritis. After being informed she would not be admitted on to any AHS property with her cannabis vaporizer, Kirkman has started a hunger strike and organized a protest to bring attention to the issue.

“In November, for various conditions that I have, all of a sudden my doctors’ referrals were being turned down,” Kirkman told Cannabis Culture. “Any clinic that was in an AHS facility – that’s all our facilities pretty much – was canceled.

The reason? Her use of medical marijuana. Or more specifically, her use of a vaporizer to consumer marijuana.

The patient says she was informed by health authorities that because they can’t be sure vaporizing is safe to AHS staff and other patients, they will not allow it on premises at their centres.

“The doctors and AHS all agree … that there is no alternative to me using my vaporizer,” Kirman said. “They’re not saying flat out to me ‘you can’t come to the AHS facility’, they’re saying ‘you can come but you will be receiving no pain medication whatsoever. We can’t give you any alternative for it and as AHS we don’t think you will be able to handle the amount of pain that will happen as a result of you not using the cannabis.'”

Kirkman says she has stopped eating food and will consume only clear liquids until AHS allows her to once again receive medical treatment in it’s facilities while taking her medication.

“This is all happening with nobody hearing about it and AHS, they don’t care if I live or die really,” she said. “It’s a corporation. It’s a big faceless thing. It’s the government. I thought enough is enough. The important thing is that people hear that this is happening so they’re as outraged as they should be, as I am personally.”

The embattled medical marijuana user has also planned a protest Vape-Out for Wednesday at 1PM MT at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, and is asking other licenced medical marijuana users to join her.

“If you are legally allowed to use a vaporizer, if you have an MMAR/MMPR licence or an exemption of some sort, you should be able to go into any AHS facility and medicate as required, as you’re prescribed to do. … What I’m hoping is at least 10 patients will set up and vaporize. We are going to sit and we’re going to plug in our vaporizers; I’m actually going to go into the urgent care and attempt to see if they’ll admit me.”

Kirkman says she hopes for a day when medical marijuana users are treated like other patients, and when the medical-grade vaporizers are the norm in health care facilities.

“Just like defibrillators are in every single healthcare facility,” she said, “you’ll see a vaporizer of some sort in every healthcare facility across Canada.”

Listen to an interview with Lisa Kirkman by Cannabis Culture & Pot TV Editor Jeremiah Vandermeer:

Join Cannabis Culture News LIVE this Friday at 4PM PT for a live interview with Kirkman.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture & Pot TV. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.