Saskatoon high school student Michael Wileniec says high-grade medical marijuana is the only drug that eases his chronic pain.
Wileniec has hereditary multiple exostoses, a condition that locates in his joints and pinches his nerves, causing a pain that he equates with stepping on a nail.
It's bad enough that it has disrupted his life and interrupted his education because of time off for surgeries. At age 21, he's two credits shy of graduating from Grade 12 at Nutana Collegiate.
Wileniec said he was able to use his vaporizer at school for two years with no problem. The principal and staff knew what he was doing and why.
But a week ago, he received a letter from the Saskatoon Public School Board: No more pot on school grounds, and no being at school while under the influence of medical pot – a decision he said is unfair.
"A diabetic [can] come to school, they're still able to come to school. Any other person that uses any other type of medicine are able to come to school," he said.
Wileniec said he's not intoxicated by the marijuana. It's all about pain management.
"After I take a hoot, the pain would go away and my mind would be diverted from concentrating on it," he said.
Wileniec is not sure of his options and his family is supportive.
"I don't think I'm high. I've dealt with my pain. When you're high, you're delusional."
In a written statement, Saskatoon Public Schools said that the division cannot comment on the cases of specific students, but that "we are committed to working to accommodate student's specific needs to ensure their learning goals are achieved."
The right medicine
Wileniec said he was diagnosed with his condition at age 17. He started smoking pot recreationally when he was 14 years old and got his medical marijuana prescription at 17.
He has tried conventional prescription drugs, from Tylenol 3 to morphine, but didn't like how they clouded his mind.
He also said that the terms of his current prescription are such that he has to smoke the marijuana, and he can't eat it.
While The Saskatoon Public School Board would not comment directly on Wileniec's complaint, the written statement suggested that the board "works to provide appropriate accommodations that are responsive to the learning needs of both the individual and the school community." It went on to say that the board is "guided by the Education Act, human rights law regarding accommodation, our administrative procedures and specific circumstances."