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Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

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Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana– Today’s guest blog is by Edward Bernstein and Associates.The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Marc J. Victor, P.C.

Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

LAS VEGAS, Nevada. As marijuana legalization expands, some state worker’s compensation funds are wrestling with whether they should be required to cover the drug for workers who are injured. Recreational marijuana has been legalized in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana has been legalized in 19 states, including Nevada. However, legalization of the drug for medical use doesn’t always mean that insurers are required to cover it. In fact, the coverage of medical marijuana in worker’s compensation insurance is a rather complex issue.

Integro, a global risk management group, recently evaluated the potential impact that legalizing medical marijuana would have on worker’s compensation claims. Because marijuana legislation is local and contradicts federal law, it isn’t always clear who should pay for a patient’s medical marijuana if they are injured on the job. In addition, some insurers have even claimed that they could face federal prosecution for covering the drug.

Several states have also clarified the role insurers should play in paying for medical marijuana. For example, in Arizona, insurers are not required to cover the drug. In Michigan, an employer was permitted to fire an employee for using marijuana even though he held a medical registry card. After all, marijuana can be seen like a pharmaceutical drug that could impact a person’s ability to do his or her job.

Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

However, other states have declared that medical marijuana should be covered under worker’s compensation. These states are Maine, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New Mexico.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the battle about whether insurers should cover medical marijuana is currently being tested in Maine. The Maine Supreme Court is hearing a case in which an employer’s worker’s compensation is denying coverage for medical marijuana. The worker claims he was left suicidal by narcotic painkillers. The worker further claims that medical marijuana is safer and cheaper than narcotic pharmaceuticals.

The situation is complex. As long as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, worker’s compensation insurers who pay for it could theoretically face prosecution at the federal level. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has intimated that he would be increasing enforcement of drugs, possibly reigniting the war on drugs.

Opioid painkillers have become notorious for serving as gateway drugs for heroin use and for the opioid epidemic. However, because the pharmaceutical industry has lobbied for these drugs, opioids are covered under worker’s compensation, and marijuana remains a gray area, even though we rarely, if ever, hear about overdoses from the drug.

Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

If you have been injured on the job and are facing difficulty receiving coverage for the medicines you have been prescribed, you may want to speak to a qualified worker’s compensation lawyer, like Edward Bernstein & Associates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our firm can review the circumstances of your injury, evaluate your claim, and help you fight adjusters to receive the compensation you may deserve. We can use the fullest protections under the law to help you access the help you need. Visit us at https://edbernstein.com today to learn more.

 

Citations:

https://integrogroup.com/uploads/white_papers/2015-06_Impact-Marijuana-Legalizationon-WC.pdf

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/maine/articles/2017-09-13/insurer-says-it-shouldnt-have-to-pay-for-medical-marijuana

https://edbernstein.com/workers-compensation-in-henderson

https://edbernstein.com/workers-compensation-lawyer

 

Workers Compensation and Medical Marijuana

2017-10-02T17:55:49+00:00

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