In this episode we explore a series of unfortunate events started when a Registered Nurse decided to illegally grow cannabis as medicine. Society may consider nurses one of our most trustworthy groups however, employers and professional colleges have policies and procedures suggesting otherwise because the profession is plagued with addiction issues. This episode explores what happens when a nurse self-medicates using cannabis and is seen as having an addiction issue. There is a mismatch in understanding needs and medicine. Kirk and Trevor wonder if this is one of those stories where Cannabis is misunderstood and due to this lack of understanding, we are left with one less nurse.
E61 - One Less Nurse - Paul Martin
Meet our guest
Music ByThe Doors - Peace Frog
(Yes we have a SOCAN membership to use these songs all legal and proper like)
Trevor - So we're back, we've got a really, really interesting guy to get to, but I want to tell you a quick story first, because it's actually a lead into this one nicely. So like I'd seem to be doing all the time now. I was taking a Cannabis course. So, you know, zoom, everything. So Humber River Hospital from Torontoish area and through a Spectrum Therapeutics, which is the medical side of Canopy Growth. The Tweed Store. Their medical end, put this thing on and two to three hours a week, three hours each a total of six hours for the weekend and I might actually get some CU is for this. So that's why I was doing it. The first half was really good. A female doc who, who actually treats patients with Cannabis. So, you know, she went over endocannabinoid system and this, that, and that I learned a lot. I really enjoyed her second half now. I'm not saying he was a bad person, but the second half was a guy from CAMH. So for those of you, who've never heard of a CAMH is the center for addiction and mental health. So for example, when I took my Suboxone and methadone course a year or two ago, that's who puts that on. So it’s not all of what they do. A lot of what they do is getting people with Substance Use Disorder off that substance, and which is fine. Laudable. Good. But, you know, he had like an hour and a half to talk about Cannabis and he wasn't a fan. Which is fine. You know, it's good. We should hear about people who are not fans, but, you know, he said things like, and, you know, might actually be true, but just kind of, you know, the more you use Cannabis the more likely you are to have a cannabis use disorder. OK that's probably true. Even if you are using it medicinally. Okay. Probably like if I have never used cannabis, I guess I'm not going to get a cannabis use disorder. So maybe it just a pedantic thing, but, you know, they went through, even said at the end, I don't want to sound completely negative about Cannabis, but basically as a whole, hour and a half was completely negative and it made me think maybe our medical professions, one of the reasons they're so anti Cannabis, because this came up a lot was, and I'm starting to sound like you a little bit, but maybe they're feeling guilty about how badly the opioid crisis went. You know, they over prescribed, we, I am part of the problem. We overused opioids. Now we have a bunch of people addicted to opioids and that's causing lots of problems. It's almost like they’re feeling guilty for that. And now we're going to hard on Cannabis and at least that was my impression, but yeah, I had an hour and a half of why Cannabis is bad from a doc who treats cannabis use disorder. So that I think leads not too badly into the person who are going to talk to today.
Kirk: Well, yeah, it does, but you've, you've left that wide open for me to respond to. When you sounded like I did it in our last episode with when I started ranting about taking a controlled substance course, a part of working the North is every three years, I have to take a controlled substance course and how frustrating it is that that Cannabis is so low on the priority list and seen as a problem. So, I'm, I'm thinking that the health professions our professional bodies haven't caught up yet. Is it the way I'm looking at it? And you stole my thunder because that was going to be part of my wrap-up on, on looking at this story. I just tells me that we're both on the same page here. Okay. Let's get into Paul here.
Trevor: So friend of the show Paul
Kirk: Friend of the show Paul. The thing about Paul is that I titled this episode One Less Nurse. Essentially, we have One Less Nurse in the profession because of his relationship with Cannabis
Trevor: Which is fantastic in the era of COVID and everything else.
Kirk: Yeah. Well, and again, I don't want to get to the wrap-up. Paul is an early supporter of our program. It's probably right to say that he introduced us to many of the people in the provincial green culture, to the Cannabis culture. A we met a lot of people in Winnipeg through are our friendship with with Paul. He is heard on S2E8 - The Basement Tapes, where I went into the basement and saw how he grows his medicine. You know, he was also going to help us and support us with our pandemicly canceled Cannabis dinner. He was gifting us product to help us with that. So I guess I am declaring that he's a friend of this program. We are a friend of his, but, but having said all that declaring that… this is a story I've wanted the tell for about two years, because I've known, I've known this story I've been following Paul. Paul and I talk and with each other. So I'd known where he is gone, and we're going to hear a story that I can't help but think that the profession has, has lost has, has lost a member, you know, so I wanted to get his story out and then jump to conclusions at the end
Trevor: All right, let's go here. Paul
Kirk: Why don't we start there. You are, you were a registered nurse and there you are no longer, can you give me a short history of how long are you in nursing? When did you start? Where did you go to school? And what was your speciality?
Paul: Certainly? So real quick backstory, just prior to the nursing. I lived a pretty normal life, good parenting, good family. However, we found myself struggling with some mental health issues, early teenager years, and it progressed into a full-blown addiction, which eventually left me homeless and without any support networks and really just struggling at life by the age of 19, 19 years old. And then just to bridge the story from that to nursing, I ended up getting my life together, found Cannabis, and that kind of helped me get back to a level-headed of state where I could progress in life. Eventually get a, a university degree, nursing degree and meet a family and turn my life around. But the story of nursing started in 2006, I decided after a period of just working other jobs and it was time to get serious. Life had, had kind of turned around and I felt like I was ready to embark on a new journey in life and nursing was always a good fit for me because my prior experience had always been looking after people. So, 2006, I decided to enroll. I got into the nursing program and I really enjoyed it. It was very challenging. I went back again as a mature student with a little bit of a different outlook, but I made it through and I made it through ended very well and ended up did kind of so well that in my practicum, I was asked to kind of finish early because I was working on a palliative care unit and it was just a perfect fit for me. And I kind of found my, my niche in nursing and with the permission of the, the palliative care team at the facility and the university, we kind of ended the practicum as fast as I could doing the extra hours and a secured a full-time job right out of my practicum. I'm in the month of August still, while school was still kind of technically going on. So I was very lucky and very blessed to find my spot in nursing. And I really, really, really enjoyed palliative care. So that was what kind of got me into nursing. Struggling on early on in life, refining myself and then getting into nursing and returning that by looking after other people. And so I did nursing from 2010. I graduated in August, secured a job immediately on palliative care. And I worked in palliative care for a short period of time, full time left for a float gig that saw me float around the hospital for about half a year. And then I was lucky enough to return to palliative care for the remaining eight years, nine years as a 0.5 0.6 with some shift pickups. So that was my nursing career in that's where I found myself as a nurse on palliative care.
Kirk: Okay. So just backtracking a little bit. So before you were a nurse, you had, I guess, it's fair to say you had an addictions issues.
Paul: Yes. I definitely had addition issues, a co-occurring disorder issues of really bad mental health, depression, and anxiety, anxiety that manifests into a depression and vice versa. And it was debilitating at times, but I just always kind of pushed through. And then, like I said, just medicated with things that we probably shouldn't have to be with, but found some, some relief in that, but eventually like any addiction it takes over and it makes life completely unmanageable on top of the mental health issues.
Kirk: Right. So without, without going too quickly into the story, but before you got into nursing, did you have any, any issues with the law or with legal issues before nursing?
Paul: Not at all, a very, very, very, very normal plain life, no issues with a law, just a very quiet kid that just never felt right.
Kirk: Nursing. Nursing's an infamous profession for weeding out its young. So as a student, as a student, as an applicant, did you have to declare any health issues, mental health issues as an applicant?
Paul: No No, like, like I said, idle time was always bad for me. So when I have no goals or no direction in life, like most I kind of got myself in trouble and I found that nursing and the ability to put that energy into caring for other people was what really helped me stay focused and always found, like I said, when I was goal-orientated like most of us and have things that I was working for, there was never even a feeling of that mental health in my life and things were, were, were very, very good. Again, with a combination of having goals, but also most importantly, finding something that worked for me to alleviate these feelings. I could never alleviate with any other method of therapy. Now I tried everything. So, before people will question and I mean, I tried multiple rounds of, of medications, pharmacology, and all sorts of other interventions therapy, and it just never brought me comfort or the ability to live happy. It just kind of put a band-aid on the mental health issues, but I still felt terrible in the medication has some side effects, of course, that we all know of. That just didn't work for me, especially being in an acute setting of nursing where I needed to be a very sharp and alert. I just found that any type of medication did not work with me and my profession where I could again. And I said, found Cannabis and I would use Cannabis on my off time. And that's where I found that relief, you know? And like it was a relief I had felt before. And so it was something I was very, very happy about because I got my life back and obviously felt very strongly about in its therapeutic effects.
Kirk: And so to be clear, the medications you're talking about are prescription medications you got from your family doctor and those were not working for you. So you found Cannabis as your medicine.
Paul: Right? And we tried everything. I mean, I'm a recovered addict or was at the time? And I was getting prescribed benzos and things that just no person who has a history of addiction should really be prescribed or really wants to get into. If there is something that was much less harmful and less addicting, which Cannabis was for me that works so much better,
Kirk: Interesting though people who are on those types of drugs normally do work, is like, they'll take their prescriptions.
Paul: They work for a short period of time and that's how I always found him. So, you, you have to load up for six weeks. If we get used to the medication dosage, find what works for you, and you get a little bit of normalcy for a while and, and some benefits, but my response was always very short lived. So, and I would suffer from really the worst side effects. So, you know, weight gain was huge for me. I used to be able to sleep so well when I was on the medications, my sleep habits would get messed up. So, I couldn't sleep anymore. There was all sorts of functions that did not work for me. I just kind of walked around in a daze all day from having this continue adjustments or switching medication is going on something for a while then, then having to stop.
Kirk: Walk me through the process when you discovered that Cannabis was actually helping you more than the prescriptions, walk me through that process. How did that, how did you discover that and how to deal with it with your doctors?
Paul: Well, like I said, Manitoba, as we know, unfortunately, is quite a restrictive province when it comes to Cannabis and they have a, a historical stereotypical approach about Cannabis and it's still here today, as you can tell, we're one of the only a few provinces that we can't grow. So, we still have a, quite a negative stereotype of Cannabis you see here in Manitoba. Now imagine in, in prohibition times, which was only a few years ago, Manitoba was probably one of the most restrictive provinces in Canada regarding cannabis and cannabis use and Cannabis law and Cannabis policy and reform. So, to find the doctor and in, in Manitoba to, to, to get a prescription, was you couldn't, it was impossible. And in fact, any of the ones that we had who are given a prescription, one of the MAR program, from what I understand, some were actually being held up by the college of physicians. There was a lot of negative stereotypes of anyone working with Cannabis in our, in our city and in our province. So, you could not find anyone here in Manitoba to get a prescription. Now, as a nurse, I went through nursing and I really enjoyed nursing law and nursing ethics. And I knew after exhausting all my resources in Manitoba, that even my family doctor wouldn't even give me a referral for a Cannabis prescription or to a Cannabis doctor. But your only options in Manitoba prior to cannabis legalization was you had to, on your own dime, go to BC, find a doctor in BC who would prescribed to you. This would be a doctor that has no idea of your past history. And unfortunately, probably doesn't care just because, you know, it's a quick visit and there is one reason why you're there and ask to get your cannabis license. So, you put down your own dime, you have to travel there probably for five or six days for a week, stay there on your own dime travels, expense, and, and see a doctor who had no idea who you were, did a quick review of your chart. And then for about a thousand dollars or $300, you get a script for your, your medical script. And as a nurse for me in Manitoba, who, again, I really enjoyed nursing law and nursing ethics and nursing, certain nurses that push the boundaries, like the nurses that started to Insights and all these sort of nurses that kind of pushed and advocated for things that were wrong. I just in hindsight and in good faith, I just ethically couldn't leave province to go see a doctor that didn't know me. So I took the risk, unfortunately, and in hindsight, maybe it wasn't a good idea, but it definitely opened many doors for me to just grow my Cannabis illegally. And I had a very small garden in my house, and we did this for the better part of a decade without any issues. So, I knew that there was no real harm in a small medical garden. Unfortunately, I couldn't get, the paperwork to get it done in my, in my own province. And like I have just stayed at it was, it just seemed unethical for me to leave the province to get something.
Kirk: And before, before you jumped, because I know where this story's going, I just wanted to clarify one more thing. So, you discovered Cannabis as your own medicine, you are on the benzos, you're on prescriptions. And if I remember correctly, you told me the doctor at the time was your family doctor. They'd known you for decades. He knew your history. So all of a sudden, when Paul comes in to his office and you do to review and you're not taking his prescriptions, how did you enter the conversation with him that you're using Cannabis?
Paul: Well, what happened was I haven't seen my doctor for a while because life had been so good. But what had happened was I myself realized that the prescriptions and the attempts to prescribe the pharmacology interventions weren't working. So what most patients do if something's not working, they don't take it. So I didn't take it. But in that process, I had met a gardener in my neighborhood in Wolseley. And this guy introduced me to certain types of cannabis plants, specifically Sativa plants that I'd never seen before. Didn't know the difference really, but he introduced me to some, some different types of cannabinoid profiles that weren't common or things that I had never really tried before. That's where this started. So I started using medicine that he would grow, and he eventually taught me how to do it on my own, but these unique profiles that seem to work so well with my anxiety and depression. So Sativa dominant types of plants that gave me energy, helped me focus and do all of these things that worked for me. So I started using that and less and less and less of the other medications and started to realize in that long-term and consistently I felt better. I felt better. There was no denying it, I felt better. People around me noticed, man, what a change you're happier. Things just, you're a brighter and not so foggy. So I didn't see my doctor for a long period of time and suddenly the raid happened and I wanted to follow all rules and laws, especially now, knowing that I was going to have a criminal fight ahead of me in a professional fight ahead of me. So I stopped using Cannabis went to the office and said, look, I've been using cannabis for a long period of time and not using the medicine that we have tried to prescribe the help. And I'm now in a position where I have been raided and I want to follow the law as closely as I can. Can you help me get a prescription for Cannabis because it's working for me and has been for a long period of time. Now, since I last saw you we're talking years. And I was told, and I don't blame my doctor because her experience is very minimal with Cannabis, but she pretty much refused outright. And it took my mother who knows her just longer than I have to actually come and fight for a referral. And now at this time it was right on the verge of legalization and it was happening here. We finally had a clinic in Manitoba. It was an extension from a Vancouver outfit that now had an office in Manitoba that would prescribe licenses in Manitoba. So, I now had this ability to not leave province, get someone in my own province to provide me medical care and prescription. And that was kind of what set that motion rolling. However, she refused to give me the prescription or the referral. By law, most doctors have to give a referral. It's not any harm done to them, no harm done to me, it's just a simple referral to someone who knows more and specializes in a topic that the patient is looking for
Kirk: Fundamental family medicine, right?
Paul: Ya, my mom, came in, badgered her a little bit and said, look, we were both in tears. There is a bit of a crossroads here, we need medical help, my son needs medical help. Can you get the referral? So, I finally got the referral and that was when I got my license finally, to grow cannabis. But in the process of all of this, I had reported already to the College that I have been raided and I'd been arrested and that sent forth that whole future fight that was going to happen. And then you have to realize too, I had the criminal charges that were now pending and looming. So, I had, I had no option, but to get my license. And I was finally able to get it correctly here with, you know, proper methods to get in Manitoba. So that changed everything, right. So yeah,
Kirk: I know. We are now where we want to be. I have to assume, our listeners, aren't up to snuff. You got raided. You had said earlier in the conversation, you were growing your own medicine in your basement. You had a small garden and we discussed your garden in the episode, Homegrown, Sorry the episode Basement Tapes. Sorry. The song was Homegrown. So people can go back to that. So, you are a registered nurse, you've got your medicine garden in the basement. You are not a registered grower.
Kirk: And obviously you're not in Wolseley anymore. You've moved neighborhoods.
Paul: Right? So, Mary, my wife and I am finishing my degree and we found a house in Windsor Park. We moved there and, you now, we set up very quietly in the basement and followed every rule we could. So, proper ventilation, odor control, everything we could do to just keep this big dark secret that two professionals had; especially this Nurse. I was a nurse and I was growing Cannabis. I knew what I was doing, but I knew as a nurse that, and as a cannabis advocate, that there was no harm being done. And it was actually benefiting me more than any harm could be caused to Society.
Kirk: Yeah. So, so I guess obviously new neighbors, somebody dropped off the dime, or I guess it would be a loony now.
Paul: Well, we used to medicate outside and we had a neighbor that originally had no problem with it. And then suddenly there was new neighbors that were brought in to this side, duplex, and they had a real issue with the odour of Cannabis. Now it was always the smell of Cannabis smoking in the backyard. So we try to stop. We, we would wait until we would see no neighbors outside where we would go use the garage, but it just escalated to the point where there was constant interaction or phone calls to the police and the police have to follow up on numerous phone calls and they did. They were here. And I guess they alerted to the fact that, yeah, it does kind of smell like Cannabis. And that brought us into the two-week investigation and the subsequent raid.
Kirk: So here we are a Paul you've been raided. You're a registered nurse. You're a palliative nurse; a caring person. You're using medication, take us through the next step.
Paul: Well, this is the breakdown. So, the real quick, July, 2010 graduated nursing July 2010 became a full-time nurse. Palliative care, September 14th Raided 2016. Six years into nursing raided 2016, September, September 15th, like any professional nurse is obligated, you are obligated to disclose to the college nurses, any type of issue you may have with nursing, any error in conduct, any misconduct, any potential misconduct. It is my professional duty as a nurse to disclose this to my governing body. And that's what I did the following day. And now you have to understand what a raid happens. You have guns in your face. You come home to a house that the government is trying to take from you and people are trying to take from you and seize you have a house that is torn apart; destroyed. You don't know where your cats are because doors are kicked in. Its literally the biggest nightmare you have ever seen in your life. You have a family home kids, pets, everything is just destroyed. So you are in such a state of distress and now I'm not using Cannabis because I'm trying to be a law abiding citizen. So worst days of my life, it was like being teleported back into the midst of the worst addiction days of my life. Chaos. So anyways, September 15th, I do my due diligence. I send an email to the college disciplinary committee saying, I regret to inform you. I have just been arrested for growing Cannabis I, you know, definitely we'll be looking at a court case, potential jail, potential, a discipline from the province. And, I just wanted to let you know that this is what happened. These are the charges, there was four charges. I just need you to know where do we go from here? So that was September 15th, 2016. October 12th, I guess the college had not been able to find the email or the email got misplaces, but it was almost a month period that I they found the correspondence and then October 18th, they reviewed everything, the disclosure that I have put forth with a disciplinary committee. And it was passed at a disciplinary committee at this point. So October 20th, I received my first letter from the college saying, woo, we just found out that you were arrested. We reviewed everything. We definitely need to hear more about this. We are going to put this force to disciplinary committee and we want to have a hearing. One of many hearings. So the October 27th. So is the first hearing we have with the college. So, it is highly recommended. And you know, by everybody that you have legal representation. So, you, you definitely, you want to go there with legal representation. So, you get legal representation, lawyer. Our union supplies a list of lawyers. So, you go there with your lawyer and we sat there and it's a very intimidating situation. You are in a very large boardroom and you are at the foot of the table surrounded by sometimes 12 disciplinary members, college professionals, directors, the whole, the whole rigmarole, and you are there to plead your case, give more information and answer questions. So, we sat there and that was the very first introduction and the very first meeting, disciplinary meeting about the Cannabis raid. So, in that meeting, I divulged to them, they wanted to know a few things. It was brought forward that might use was medical. That I have standing depression, anxiety. That's why we use Cannabis for, I also said the reason why, I mean, I could never grow illegally was we weren't able to get to prescription here. I explained my, my point of not leaving province and paying out of pocket in doing this unethical prescription seeking out a province. I put that forth as to why it took the risk and essentially they hear you out and then they formulate some questions and come back and either come up with some sort of not undertaking, but things you need to do to show them that you are not a risk to the profession or to the safety of the public, because that is a college job is to protect the public very important job. So it was in this meeting that I was now told that I would have to have some standard things that the college does when anyone has brought forth with any type of drug use issues or any type of addiction issues. Mine was drug use from their perspective because I was using cannabis illegally, regardless of how you break it down. It was a legal to the college when I was doing fair enough. So, we had a hearing and the outcome of that was. I took the stance now, very interesting. If you go look back at one prior case to the public, you can go to the college’s website, typing, disciplinary hearings outcomes, and you'll see a list of all the CRNM hearings that have happened over the years. I think it goes back 12 years. There's one particular case that is a mirror case of ours, it’s a mirrored image, where there is a new grad who just graduated and he was arrested for a Cannabis raid. Only he had no prior work experience and had no full position with the nursing entity or a facility yet. And because he took the stance of apologizing and condemning his behavior, telling the, the college, and he would, he would never use Cannabis again for his mental health that he would now exhaust every pharmacological, every conventional method that the college approved to have to deal with his mental health. He was let go with pretty much a slap on the wrist. Okay. So, when I went in, I took a different approach because that was not my approach and I couldn't lie. So, I told them I was not going to stop using cannabis medically because it worked, I was going to seek out my license. And when I got my license is when I would continue using cannabis legally. And so that was the first thing we did is we got our license and we got everything put in place, but they wanted me to now perform a fitness appraisal exam. Now that is very common with any type of drug issue with a Nurse. One of the first tools they use. And it's a great tool, is it's a fitness appraisal exam. And this is a tool that looks cognitively, physically at the nurse's ability to conduct their selves professionally and safely as a nurse. So generally, how this works is the college has a group of doctors that be used. These are usually psychologists, addiction professionals and so forth. Mine was the addiction specialists, a really prominent addiction specialist and Winnipeg. My fitness exam was to be with her. So, we left that meeting with the idea that I have to have this fitness exam, and this will prove if I'm a safe Nurse to work and we can come back at a later time and discuss the results. So, I went on my way. I went to this doctor's meeting. I have to also understand that this was all paid out as a member of pocket. So, the first hearing in total with lawyer fees was about $2,000. This is for about 30 minutes, 30 minutes of a hearing plus, and now I'm being charged about two grand for a fitness exam in which is, Hey, if it allows me the ability to continue working as a nurse, I will pay whatever. So, we paid it, we went and saw this doctor. It's a big day. You go to the health science center is one of our biggest hospitals in this city. You go there and you're nervous as hell because here you are. It's kind of like a flashback being an addict again. You walk into this giant hospital, it's the zoo. You have no idea where to go. And I remember candidly asking a colleague, a doctor, just someone that I can relate to because I'm a Nurse. I see a guy in scrubs, the doctor. So I go ask a doctor, can you help me find this? And he goes, Oh, good luck, buddy. I really hope things work out for you is right over there. So it just kind of shows you already the stereotype, the stigma was feeling about you about being there. So, but whatever, I went and got my fitness exam. So, the fitness exam was me sitting with a doctor. And she just asked me about my, like any, any type of history assessment that nurses do every day doctors do is just figuring out my life what brought me here, my needs. And do I have a problem with Cannabis? Is it medical? And can I function in society as someone who uses cannabis and at home and on the job everywhere, it's, it's pretty much a assessment to see where I'm at in life and if I'm functioning and if I am able to function safely, and that's what it is. So, it was about a 40-minute session. About an hour. We went through everything, full physical, assess, a history, no physical assessment, but physical history or a history of, of, of everything. Drug use, family, life, job performance. Now you have to understand when I went there, I mean, I went loaded. I had a support letters from my nursing facility, my nursing manager, my CNO. I had a lot of information in job performance evaluations, all of these things that, I mean, there was no issue with work. There never has been. I was even the opposite. There's been accolades and, and in a really strong, productive nursing career. So, she was presented all this data in a very unbiased fashion and leaving there, she wanted to speak to my manager, which made sense because it's my manager at work. She sees me work on a daily basis, but also wanted to speak to my family to see what my home life was now, everything she did to follow up, just kind of reiterated that, everything I said, the positive, all the positive feedback and all the positive living and a huge change in my life when positive, everything was good, everything was good. Now this is where things turned. Up to this point. I figured that, you know, the things are going to work out. There's going to be some common sense here. We are going to do what we have to do. I'm going to go on, continue to nursing, and I can deal with my criminal matters. Like someone should deal with the doctor after receiving positive information, positive data, subjective and objective for myself and colleague, manager, wife, 180 for the entire fitness practice exam and turned it around and said that she felt that I had a co-occurring disorder of mental health issues and a severe Cannabis addiction that would require a six month stay at the CODI program in health science center under her care. This would be the only way potentially that I could get back to a state of good mental health and good work performance in life performance, where I could return potentially to nursing
Kirk: To lock you away for six months?
Paul: Six Months. Now I'm going to stress again, fitness practice exams. And these are very, very beneficial when there is an issue with performance or an issue with drugs and understand what the nursing college is really wanting to determine if there was, but with all the data presented all of it. And there was a lot of data, like there was multiple people, multiple data presented to her. There was even a Cannabis prescription that I had just received. Everything was presented for medical use, and she literally made it appear that I was a complete disaster.
Kirk: This is what I'm finding interesting is that you are a functioning Nurse, that's getting accolades from your colleagues, patients. And again, I know some of the story here, but she's turned it around. Somebody that gets that kind of a prescription of six months is usually someone who's off the rails and living rough and has completely blown up and destroyed. So, they need to be brought back to the daily living and a whole bit. She, how, how did she justify that to the board? How did that get?
Paul: Oh, well, I mean, and quick point. I mean, I have lived the life of chaos when I was a teenager, 19, 20. I have seen chaos. I know what it looks like and what it is.
Paul: There was no evidence of chaos at all. There was quite the opposite. It was a Cinderella story of turning a life around and really thriving in a profession and in life in general.
Kirk: So she would have had to have presented that to the board with you present. Right?
Paul: Well, we'll get there. Yes. So after, after the results came in, I mean the issue with her is, and I understand her perspective in her job she's an addiction specialist and that's her job, but there was absolutely no, there was no data to support her decision. This was just a real odd decision and odd report that there was just no basis to it. There is nothing that could support it at all. At all. I've had colleagues, professionals, multiple people, psychs, everyone who's read. It has kind of just said, why did she come to this kind of conclusion? And I'll all I can say was the definitive change in that meeting from positive to negative was she asked me, would you quit cannabis use for your professional job? And I knew that if I quit Cannabis and went back to what didn't work, all of this Cinderella story and everything that I had would slowly fall away because that's what happened.
Kirk: But you have a prescription at that point. How, how dare her asked you that question? would she have asked somebody who is on a benzo or an anti-psychotic med the same, the same question. I don't think she would have.
Paul: I mean, she might have, but it was a quick discredit to the effects of Cannabis. It was a very, I mean, a very common addiction specialists, kind of point of view of Cannabis use not saying it's wrong. It's just, that's their exposure. As they see a lot of harm done by drugs, and I get that point, but when you are a professional dealing with another professional and you are being provided data that is clear and concise, how dare you come to a conclusion like that, that in the future has one purpose. And that's to condemn my use and to support the clear negative view that the College had at the time of Cannabis use and professionalism, it didn't exist. It couldn't, it couldn't coexist Cannabis to professionals.
Kirk: Well, what bothers me about this is that at that, at this time, like you've already owned up to the fact that you, you made a mistake and you, you did something out of your own personal morals that you thought was right. you got caught, I'll pay the price, but now you're sitting in front of professional people with a prescription for a medicine and, and, and a psychologist's a PhD is, is questioning a physician for giving you that prescription. So, she's attacking you, but you're sitting there with another professional saying that I have a medicine here and you're telling me to go off my meds. I find that incredulous man.
Paul: Is it even went one further. So this report was to be sent to the college naturally, but I needed a copy, right? So, she knew about my family doctor. And she knew in the interview that my family doctor was kind of on the fence about cannabis use, but my mom had turned have been there to help me. So, she figured she would go one step further. And I, we actually had a College of Physician case over this and won, but she figured just to stick it a little bit farther on me, she would send this result to my doctor to review. Now you got to understand the college and the physician doing a fitness practice exam is an independent assessment that is not a part of my medical record. It is not, this is a document that was requested and completed by an entity by another entity and has no place in my medical file. But she knew that if she faxed it to my doctor for a pickup spot where I could pick it up conveniently that my doctor would review it and it would get put in my file. So, to this day, we are still fighting to get this removed from my medical file for my current family GP, because she doesn't want to remove it. The doctor who initially had sent it, got reprimanded for it and have to change her practice and her PHIA signage sheet on releasing information. So, there was a bunch of adjustments made, but just to show you today, it is still in my medical file. The college refuses to do any type of intervention to have it removed. The doctor won't have her removed. The college of physicians are telling me legal action was the only outcome that I could possibly look at this point, but I don't want to do that. So, we're working with my doctor, still trying to have this removed. That's a side story. So, she sent it, there are just as one last little stick, but anyways, what happened? And after I got the results back, I finally was able to get them and I mean, I remember as clear as day. I was like, this woman received all this, this professional received all this benefit, that benefiting information about Cannabis working for me. It can't be bad. The college is going to learn this time that, Hey, this works for him. But I remember reading that college that, that, that fitness practice exam and I turned white because I could not believe what she wrote about me and how, how it was so opposite of what she read. But anyways, we had a hearing because once that's done, they now had this tool, this beautiful tool that they had, that was a fictitious report that they could now use in the upcoming disciplinary hearing to discipline me because they have this shiny report that a professional with all sorts of designations behind her name and respected wrote. So next hearing we had was, okay, so January 27th, we met again after the fitness practice exam, I already have a prescription for seven grams a day. So, they were also kind of upset at what the prescription. So, they went one above and part of the fitness practice exam request, there were also two requests put in. I have to provide my prescription, which was fine. That's a Cannabis prescription, but they wanted to make a difficult, they also want to meet to have the doctor because they don't have a lot of faith in the Cannabis doctors. I mean, just because of the kinda, kind of what they do is they prescribe cannabis. So the experts, but they don't have a lot of faith in those doctors or physicians. I have to present the assessment tools that were used to determine my cannabis usage and prescription, and I have to provide them with all this post-assessment pre-assessment health history. So it was very, very, very overreaching again, but we met January 27th to which they impose conditions on my practice based on this fictitious ridiculous fitness practice exam where I could no longer increase or change my EFT. I couldn't pick up shifts. And again, I have to provide all this information to them now about how I got my prescription, how it was provided, how it was assessed, that I, I deserved it. And that was kind of the end for us because my lawyer at the time, again, lawyers involved lots of money at these hearings. We had enough, he knew enough. He saw the information, he saw all the data I presented work evaluations, objective data from bosses, unit managers, CNOs, family members. He had enough and he said, this is absurd. He said, they are trying to bury you. So we asked for an appeal hearing to which thanks the nursing God. So we got, we had a nursing appeal hearing on February 28thand we won. We won and the outcome to that meeting was that they would now kind of dismiss the current fitness practice exam, but I have to get another one, which we were like, let's get another one. Yes. We looked for three months. We couldn't find a fitness practice exam. And I'm finally, we found a new person who gave us a fitness practice exam. And what do you think the outcome of that fitness practice practice exam was? A 180. It was perfect. This was a real fitness practice exam where I was asked to come medicated. I went medicated, even though I would never be medicated at work. They wanted me to see how I functioned under the influence of Cannabis. I went there and we did fine motor gross motor skills. We did dosage calculations. We did a real fitness to practice examinations to see what I worked like and worked as a nurse who might consume Cannabis on off hours. And now with a prescription. And it was a 180. I nailed and passed everything with flying colors, the presenters and the, the, the people who we're doing the tests were kind of dumbfounded as well, because they got to see the prior document. And it was exactly how the first ones should have went. It was a very honest, clear picture of a man who happens to be a nurse that finds medical relief for his mental health from Cannabis. And that's that, that was our saving grace. We were able to go back with that. And in the appeal hearing, after that, we were allowed to now lift the restrictions. So, I could now have an increase in EFT. I could pick up shifts again, because the appeal board could find no evidence to support the original fitness practice exam and found that in the new one. I mean, obviously it was in such contrast that something wasn't right. And that's kind of where things left off. And I was okay and left alone for a good year and a half while we waited for the criminal case, because now we have proved without a doubt that this Nurse could have a medical cannabis license partake on his days off. Like he would, and still come to work on his days and function, not only function, but function well as a nurse. So, we are able to defend and win that section, but they like to fight. And so it quickly now became about professional conduct misconduct about being arrested. So that was put aside, but now we have to wait for the outcome of the courts and there would be, there would be recommendation and there would also be cases coming forward to deal with the professional misconduct. So there was a lot still coming, but there was a little bit of a lull for about a year. And then it picked up again, once the case was finished. And that's kind of where we get to the point of how I exited from nursing. And that's another story we can get into real quick. So we had, we had that kind of a lull where you kind of forget about things like goes back to normal because you have to understand, I mean, working in such an acute nursing field of palliative care, going through this case thing, a criminal case thing and fighting what the college, I mean, life was very stressful. I can't thank the Cannabis gods enough for giving me a script and allowing me to maintain my sanity, because I will say if it wasn't for medical cannabis, I don't know what I would of done in that period of time. It saved my life. It kept me, kept me going and a so, go ahead…
Kirk: And what happened? So what happens after
Paul: So we have a lull. We have the court case. It picks up cause that's another three, four-year process of delays, delays, delays. And we're coming to the final court case. We have the final court case. The day of court I'm in the court with my partner. My lawyer is there. No one else is in the court. However, behind me, there's one person in court, one person, an entire room, you get your, you get your case. It's all dealt with. You have your time in court, you get your sentence. And then by chance, someone in my immediate group just kind of asked, who are you? And she goes, well, I'm with the college of nurses. So, the only person in the courtroom that was a college of nurse representative. And so, after that, she, she went back to her, her job and, and obviously divulged what the outcome was. But from the start of this entire process, I have been so transparent and so open to dealing with the college. I, the same day, leaving court, left a message saying, Hey, I got all my charges dismissed, except for one, it's a, it's an illegal Cannabis grow. I have one year of house arrest, six months absolute, meaning I can't leave my house for six months, other than for work and appointments. And the other six months I'm allowed a curfew. I have nothing else holding me in community service hours. That is, it's over and done. I'm going to pay my dues. And I want to move on because this has been four years of hell. Within a week of getting the decision. The college wanted to have a meeting. We had our first hearing about the professional misconduct, because that's what this was about now, moving forward. And they do what they normally do is a put forward an undertaking. And the undertaking is essentially an agreement that the college makes us makes with the Nurse ensuring that the nurse is taking measures to adhere to college requests, and they can be anything from counseling, more training, drug monitoring. Anything like this. And so, the province of Manitoba gave me my sentence. And in any sentence, anyone who is sentenced doesn't matter if you are for a car theft, violence, drugs, part of your, your measure sentence, as you are to abstain from alcohol, like just straight having a beer and any type of illegal drugs, not including prescriptions. So, I could smoke Cannabis I don't drink, I don't do any of the story of illegal drugs. So, this was a real problem, but this was the only little subset that kind of the college focused on. So, when he wrote an undertaking for me, this is what they wanted me to do. Now you have to understand, I have just had four years of fighting with this college and the, in the province, I have spent $18,000, $20,000 fighting the college, having fitness practice, exams, everything out in my pocket hearing after hearing lawyer fee, after a lawyer fee. And now moving forward, they wanted to me, part of my undertaking was they didn't feel that the province, the criminal courts of Canada had done enough to ensure that I was going to abstain from alcohol and drugs. So, there are very oppressive in my opinion and draconian measure, which had absolutely no relation to my case was to enforce random hair follicle testing for the one-year period, meaning that I had 90 minutes from phone call to test to show up and have my hair follicles tested to ensure that the public was safe and I was adhering to the non-consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs. Part of the, the, the sentence. Now I felt this was absolutely ridiculous for a few reasons. One, there was no history of drug use or a performance issue at all with work. Now, generally drug monitoring is used to monitor a person who has some performance issues and drug issue that kind of overlap at work and have caused some performance issues and issues at work. I am all for that. It is a great way to introduce someone back into a profession while monitoring and keeping everybody, all parties safe. However, in this situation, this was, this was punitive and this was an attempt to make my life more difficult, still over a year period. So, we, we fought the undertaking and there was other measures in the undertaking. Like my parole officer had to update the college like weekly. And I'll tell you, the parole officer's are very busy people. They are stretched very thin and I'll never forget asking my parole officer who was a tremendous, can you update the nursing college, how I'm doing every week? And she laughed. She said, I don't have time for that. She says they can phone me if they want updates. So, you would relay that back to the college. And the colleges said we don't follow people for updates. And they send them in. If they don't send a beam, then you are at fault for not completing the undertaking. And then we go from there. So that was another one. I tried to explain to them, like I have 90 minutes from the phone call to get my hair follicle, sample tested. I mean, I am a one family car, a half to fill my parole officer to get permission for everything I do to leave the house. It's almost unlikely to get there 90 minutes. Like I have to rent a cab. I, you know, I'm struggling, we are paying all these legal fees. It just was, it was dumbfounding that this is what they wanted me to do for, for no prior performance issue at all. Just because the courts, they felt weren't monitoring me close enough to protect the public. So that went on, we argued, we appealed and they said, okay, we'll accept your appeal, but we want urine tests. We still want you to do a urine test, same thing, random urine tests. And we just couldn't do it. They wanted my manager to send weekly or monthly updates on my performance, which my manager, again, very busy unit, a palliative care acute unit. No one really has time for any of this nonsense. I even said, listen, you can phone her any day you want she's okay. She'll give us an update at any time in real-time, all of the performance is not good enough. Everything I have to be in, and this draconian drug testing, this, you know, for Cannabis to use. And you know what that's, what this was all about was the fact that they had a Nurse that was using, because he is in, Cannabis stood up to the, the, the, the college for that cannabis use. And here we are being, you know, treated again, unfairly, very heavy handed. And really at the end of the day, there was no public protection needed, right?
Kirk: And we lose, we lose the Nurse over this
Paul: Well and what happened was, it came down to the fact that, and you have to also understand in the last two years, as I started exploring options, you just do, when you get older, you realize, Hey, this could be the end. So, in the time I had already was able to, to, to have a contract as a teacher at Red River College, we built and created a Cannabis course called Cannabis 101. And it was professional doctors from the community, all sorts of stakeholders that put together this unbelievable professional Cannabis course. And I was teaching it, assisting teaching as one of four teachers, five professors teaching it at a university or at the college at the red river. There was all of these things that were happening that were bringing a real professionalism to Cannabis, but they just didn't want to see anything just Nope, black and white you're in trouble. And so what happened was we butted heads. It was getting, it was getting really bad. They had a lawyer, they have a college lawyer who was threatening to print my name. It's always the biggest fear in nurses. Whenever you get disciplined, they have this thing where they print your name in our, in our, in our monthly RN magazines. And if you go to the back, you can see all the nurses whose names have been printed. It's always a nurse who has an addiction and is in my opinion, is so inappropriate too, to share someone's mental health and an addiction history. But that's what I was being threatened. I had a lawyer for the college yelling at me, threatening me to print my name. And so we had enough, we had enough, I found that nursing to become so hard to do just from the simple fact of being persecuted for almost a decade of, of providing exceptional nursing care to Manitobans and providing exceptional palliative care to Manitobans. Unbelievable bedside. And this was the thank you I got from my college and nurses. I was literally being told, pushed out in my profession if I didn't succumb to their requests, which again were completely heavy-handed and inappropriate. And so it just came to the conclusion with my wife when I was at worst, the only way that we would ever win is if we continue to pay lots of money, there was financial threats by the college, you know, we will continue. We will continue. And you'll just, it'll bleed you financially. The stresses, it's just not worth it. So being a talented guy, kind of, you know, able to kind of move from one thing to the other. I said, we were, we were able to get a, Cannabis kind of an industry job, and I don't want to talk about it, but a really good job of this industry job. And now
Kirk: We are going to hit you up on that one. I was just scrolling through here on the College of Registered Nurses Manitoba website. I do find your
Paul: I'm a under voluntary withdrawal.
Kirk: Yeah. And that's the, that's the only, that's the only notice to have it.
Paul: Yeah. So, if you go to the decision zone, you should, like, I tell everybody, if we just want to have fun one day read some of the decisions, like there's a, there's the Cannabis one that is like a mirror case of ours. And you'll just see the different ways we went in dealing with a college. And how, if you, if you, you know, apologize and, and don't stand up for yourself, things go away real quick. But if you really feel strongly about something and you stand up for yourself, I mean, it, it, it went to a place. I still think in hindsight, I cannot believe this is how I left my profession. Never had a strike against me. I was a really strong Nurse. I really enjoyed my job. I did it well. And I had to leave because I would not agree to absolutely ridiculous measures that not even the criminal court of Canada saw fit, but the college had this over sweeping power to, to push on me and I was done. And I, I tell you to this day, it's not easy. leaving the profession, you spend, you know, four years, five years going to school for you. You, you, you know, nursing, there is some shifts you can't even contemplate what you got done in a short period of time. It's so demanding. And so acute sometimes, and so hard on you. It was shocking to me to leave, but I have to leave. I could not work in a profession where I knew I wasn't appreciated by a governing college or body. And it just, it, it soured the entire process for me, the absolute, the whole entire thing was soured.
Kirk: That's too bad
Paul: Voluntary Surrender.
Kirk: Well, that's what I'm looking at. Like, I'm looking at disciplinary page right now and decisions. And when I started searching your name, so all, all of, all of those meetings, we went to all of the sanctions, they put you under. None of that got published, except for the fact that you Voluntarily Surrender your license.
Paul: I tell everybody I will make freely all of this data to anybody that's a professional and wants to see the real, the real story. Yeah. There I, I don't blame them for not publishing the real case because it's, it's ridiculous. It's an absolute kangaroo court witch hunt. It was ridiculous. You know, the outcome should have been much different. And unfortunately what happened was Nurse got pushed out of the profession just because they stood their ground and stood on their beliefs.
Kirk: So, do you ever foresee, you've got five years right to have full-time practice areas. And you've been out as a professional for a year,
Paul: Just over a year in July.
Kirk: So theoretically, you've got four years. If you wanted to enter the practice again, if you are given the opportunity to do, when you come back to the nursing,
Paul: Ah, I've thought about it. Lots. I'm so happy what I do now. And I always said that you only, the only way I would ever come back was if I had a written apology from the College of Nurses and maybe some of my hard-earned money that I spent fighting them back, and that will never happen. So, yeah.
Kirk: Okay. I think we're pushing Zoom here. We should end this. Pick your Music man. What would you like us to play at the end of your episode?
Paul: A little Peace Frog by the Doors
Kirk: Peace Frog. Good, good. A good one.
Paul: Blood in the streets, Blood in the streets, baby?
Kirk: Yes. Okay. I'll happily play that. I went to a Doors phase in my teens, so yeah. Who didn't. Thank you for this Paul
Paul: Always appreciate your time and thanks for a the absolutely great podcast and all this stuff that you guys do.
Kirk: See. What, what do you think? What do you think of that story?
Trevor: Okay. The first completely self-serving, I'm glad to hear because, and without trying to sound like we have too much of a martyr complex, my College, now again, and same with your College, my Colleges mandate is to protect the public for me in, in my College's point of view, pharmacists are the problem and we are to be, you know, fought at every turn. And sometimes when you say that enough you kind of sound a little paranoid, like, you know, no, no, your College isn't really out to get you. Sometimes it really feels like my College is out to get me. So my apologies to Paul, in the seriousness of the thing, it was just nice to hear, maybe another College might be out to get their profession.
Kirk: Well, as I was a listening to this story. And, and, and, and like I said, I know, I know Paul, I've, I've followed the progress to this story and, and listening to it again and I'm trying to be objective, is this a story of addictions, or is this a story of somebody self-medicating? Because, you know, he explains to us about his mental health issues. He explains to us that he went through a pharmacology, book of, of meds to help him with his mental health. He basically, mental health destroyed his life. His life became very erratic. Found cannabis. How many times have we heard this story, you know,
Trevor: Over and over again
Kirk: He found Cannabis. Cannabis became a friend. You know, some moral versus legal choices had to be made. Ultimately, when you're involved with a moral-stories versus legal stories, the law usually wins. He got busted
Trevor: For every time.
Kirk: I fought the law. Right. And, and, and I want to get into that a little later. as part of the submission as a summation to this story. But so, yeah, so, so we got a guy that's self-medicating. I think the documentation he has presented to us is compelling, right? When you, but now we don't have the Colleges perspective of this. We can only surmise what the, what the College has done or what they did for him or, or not for him. And I guess, as you, as I know, I talked to you about this. I really debated about calling to college and asking for their side of the story, right? First of all, the first thing, they probably wouldn't talk to me either anyways, because it's a confidentially issue. But then I also wanted to understand I'm not a journalist, right? We have journalists working for us. We have two professional media professionals, both radio and written journalism working for us. I went to them, I asked them, how should I approach to this story? And they reminded me that this is one man's story. So, we are presenting one man's story. If the College and we can only hope the College listens to Reefer Medness - The Podcast. We can only hope the professionals are what they're listening to us. If the College wants to discuss this with us, I think it's great. But, but
Trevor: We welcome them.
Kirk: We know that in the health professions, and it's almost stereotypical. We see it on soap operas all the time. We work in a stressful career nurses. I mean, pharmacists, I guess you guys are a little bit different, but nurses, or are you guys a little bit behind the line supplying us the right. Moral injury versus burnout, right? Compassion Fatigue versus PTSD. Working in environments where paperwork becomes more important than patient care. We work in a stressful jobs. It's almost expected that health professionals, nurses, doctors, well have some form of substance abuse. Alcohol is considered, I mean, students, you know, back in the day, nursing students, boy, we had some great parties, but I mean, how many times have I met a nurse and, and we've talked about, you know, after coming from the North what’s the first thing they're gonna do when you're in the airport, right?
Trevor: Getting a drink.
Kirk: Their getting a drink, right. It's accepted. I also was reading papers about how we, as a profession, view Others who have substance abuse issues. And I use the word Other Trevor, because we do have a few of them as Others. If we have a colleague that has having a substance abuse issue, we see them as having a quiet issue by themselves. Please don't discuss it. And heaven forbid if you discuss it and now we're talking about treatment, well, obviously you can't cope. So, we eat our young. We're not fair to ourselves. Compassion Fatigue. So we got a guy that has a mental health issues working in palliative care. God blessed the man,
Trevor: Right? And let's, let's, I'm going to stop you right there. I know if you know what palliative care is, but just give the people a quick summary. What does palliative care mean Kirk?
Kirk: Helping people die gracefully, you know, being in a hospital environment away from your loved ones and helping people, easing people into the, to the next life. However you view death, that's his job. Right?
Trevor: So, so literally his job is being surrounded by death, trying to make it as good as possible. But that is the point of his job. Yeah.
Kirk: Yeah. He, you know, Paul was explaining to me at one-point way back, he didn't tell this anecdote in the, in this story. But part of our responsibility when we do Con-Ed with our college is we have to ask our patients are our clients for feedback on us. So I asked five professionals to give me bias feedback that goes to the college. I asked five clients, how do you ask, how do you ask for feedback in that environment? So
Trevor: You have to literally have to ask the family, right? Because the client is not there anymore.
Kirk: So anyways, from what he tells us, he has a compelling story. He's an appreciated Nurse right. So he's got mental health issues already identified. He is working in a stressful environment. Cannabis helps him. And I can't help, but wonder if my College is a little naive and this goes back to how you started with your antidote, how you started. I can't help. But think if our College is not a little naive and, and is still viewing Cannabis as a controlled substance, it's no longer on the controlled substance manifests legislation, right. It's been removed from it. It's now considered either medicine or recreational. And we've talked about this before, how we believe even recreational users of cannabis are self-medicating. As nurses do when they go to the Air Canada lounge at the airport and have a glass of wine after two weeks stint up North. So alcohol, substances are used. Trevor I was even thinking down to how, how, how there our processes built in because of our substance abuse history as, as health professionals. And, and you'll know this it's called the narcotic count.
Trevor: Yeah. Yeah. We live in die by that.
Kirk: How often do you do it? The narcotic count.
Trevor: We do one weekly. I, if I'm remembering and yes, College, you can knock me down for this. I think it's required monthly, but frankly, we're a very high-volume store. So, we do one weekly.
Kirk: Yes, we do one between shifts.
Trevor: Yes, I know. When I was the poor people at the, the public, a personal care home used to work for personal care homes. But yeah, they, they, I think when we looked into it, they required to do it daily, but they decided to bump it up to between shifts. So that can be two to three counts per day, just to make sure none of you are evil nurses where sneaking a couple of those Narcs. I am going to throw another thing in to you though. Just a couple of summers ago, pre COVID a buddy from university from residences was having a 50thbirthday party. A bunch of us met in Winnipeg. We went on to another, we went on a beer crawl. It was very nice. The important bit was I was chatting with a girl, the lady, woman, who I went to school with. She is now an Occupational Therapist. And we were chatting about this, that, and the other thing. And she asked me if I ever wore a leg bag at work and said, what now, you know, a leg bag you mean to pee to do? She said, yes, no. Why? Because she, she rehabilitates people after something or other to help them get back into work. And she has had more than a couple of pharmacists who, their store policy was you had to have a pharmacist on the floor at all times. And you had to do a narc count whenever a pharmacist changed. So literally rather than and they're the only pharmacist there, rather than take a bathroom break and have to come back and count all of the narcs in their safe, they found it just easier to wear a leg bag. There's something wrong when that is a thing,
Kirk: You know, healthcare, healthcare, this, this isn't a podcast about healthcare, but it's a, it's a damaged, damaged industry in so many ways how, how we are treated and the expectations placed on us. So, you know, so when I hear the story about losing a Nurse in a field that that is so special in a sense of palliative care, it just makes me, makes me shake my head. And I'm, I'm hoping like I, you know, what, the interesting thing, and in the interview I asked Paul that he's got four years to work on this because one of the, one of the stipulations of remaining Registered is that I must work full-time hours in a period of five years. Okay. So, so I can take a sabbatical hiatus or I can work part-time as long as in five years, I've worked a full-time shift that, you know, and I think that's 2000 hours are one of the two and 2018 hours, whatever, whatever, eight hours, times. It's a bit about 2000. Yeah. Yeah. So you have to work that many hours in five years. So Paul is still has time. And my profession, my College has time, has time to go back and maybe review this with a different stigma, because that's the word I was searching for. The stigma.
Trevor: One of the parts, I really liked, from when he talked now, again, we're not lawyers, we don't have access to all the info, but I really liked how him and his lawyer looked back through the previous cases and found one very similar to his, you know, as a nurse who, who didn't have any work experience got raided ended up in front of the College and basically said, I'm very, very sorry. I'll never touch Cannabis again and got a slap on the wrist. You know, the way it sounded like the facts of the case. Again, I'm not a lawyer, not a lawyer, not a lawyer, but the facts of the case sounded very similar to Paul's. Apart from the Paul has lots of experience. Lots of accommodations from work seems to be really good at his job, but said, no, I'm not going to stop Cannabis because I think it is good for my mental health. Like that seems to be the key, the stigma really.
Kirk: Two things happened, right? First of all, he demonstrated that Cannabis is his medicine. So he got that through. So they, they, they kinda, he went through that process that punitive and, and they allowed them that, but he gets the criminal record. I never asked her if a summary or not, what kind of a conviction he got, but essentially I'm sure it got a criminal record for growing his medicine. And he explains that. And, and, and again, Trevor like I said, I think it's compelling that he, that his story is compelling in Manitoba in 2015, where are you going to get a green card? Right. So, but the fact is now he's got a criminal record. So, my question is, I wonder if they may be made a decision by policy, right? So the policy says you got a criminal record. These are the things we have to do, but are we not looking at the individual case here, the guy was growing as a medicine, he got busted. He, he made a moral decision. He lost the law. So why are we putting him through this? And where is the, I mean, Colleges are very easy to deal with a probation officer supposed to call. That's what, where's the empathy in that the whole point of being a nurse is to have empathy and understanding. So the College isn't demonstrating empathy and understanding.
Trevor: Let's go back to the whole point of both of our professions is to treat sick people or people with conditions. He's got a condition.
Kirk: Treatment with Cannabis.
Trevor: We are treating with a now legal substance. So, I'm not saying that there shouldn't be caveats. And I'm not saying, you know, just like somebody who is using a benzo for their anxiety, shouldn't show up at work so stoned that they can't see, you know, you shouldn't show up so stoned on Cannabis you can't function. But you know, we liked, you have said many times I'm sounding way too much like lately, you have said, many times that it is completely, everybody is fine if you take six grams of lorazepam twice a day because you know what, you're treating your anxiety. Not that that makes it good or we'll throw your favorite. Everyone is fine if I come to work strung out on my Gaby's Gabapentin, because that's a… again, I'm not saying there shouldn't be stipulations that I'm not saying, you know, the, the, whatever they called it originally, the return to work to make sure he's still fit for work. That's probably reasonable. But, but that doesn't seem to be what they're actually interested in.
Kirk: No, you know, one of the things that I find. Everything's confrontational, you know, all the relationships that we deal with outside of our patient care model is confrontational. I mean, unions, unions, and employers, the whole language. I used to teach a human resource program at the local college. I was involved with teaching HR management courses. When I did the union course, I was fascinated by the wordage in the rhetoric. It's all confrontational, everything's confrontational. Us versus them. You know, when you look at, when you look at health regions, forming, and, and regions are now fighting against each other, who gets the CATT scan, who gets everything is confrontation. So as nurses, we, we woodle through that and we just wanted to focus on the bloody patient. You know? So anyways, I think, I think we can bash this one around forever. I would like to, I would like to hear more from my College. I recognize that in my profession, substance abuse is an issue. No question, man. No question about it. Substance abuse is an issue with my profession. I've met some highly functional alcoholics, you know, and, and off we go. And I think, I think I got so many antidotes on, on that, but that's not for this podcast, but here we've done. And I'm sad to say that my profession has lost the Nurse and I don't like how it happened to him. I'd love to hear the other side of this story. I opened it up to the College to get back to us.
Trevor: And I think that's a good a place to wrap as any so Kirk because I think we forgot to mention again. I think you're Kirk Nyquist the nurse.
Kirk: I’m the Nurse, and you are a Trevor Shewfelt the Pharmacist, the ever-changing pharmacist.
Trevor: Something like that. Yeah.
Kirk: We are Reefer Medness – The Podcast.
Trevor: We are a podcast.
Kirk: Yeah. Listen to our podcast, we explore, we explore key issues around Reefer Madness Reefer Medicine and, and Reefer Mellow. And I think this one may be falls under Reefer medicine going mad.
Kirk: So people stay tuned. Reefer Medness - The Podcast.