New Jersey employers may be asked to pay for medical marijuana use by injured workers, the New Jersey Supreme Court found Tuesday.
In the Hager v. M & K Construction case, the court ruled that injured worker Vincent Hager provided sufficient evidence that his mandatory medical marijuana treatment was “appropriate and necessary” treatment for the purposes of the State Workers Compensation Act and that state law over compassionate use may force the employer to reimburse the cost of the drug.
Mr. Hager suffered a back injury at M&K in 2001 and applied for employee compensation, which the company refused on the grounds that the incident was being investigated. Mr. Hager underwent lumbar fusion surgery in 2011, but his pain persisted and he continued to take prescribed opioid medications.
In April 2016, a hospice and palliative care practitioner enrolled Mr. Hager in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program to manage his pain and rid him of opioids. He was prescribed two ounces of medical marijuana per month at a cost of about $ 600 per monthly marijuana prescription.
Later that year, the construction company admitted that Mr. Hager was an employee and sustained a work-related injury, and the parties agreed on medical bills, most medical expenses, temporary disability benefits, and third parties. Party Lien Credits.
However, M & K denied Mr Hager’s request for medical marijuana reimbursement on the grounds that it was not a necessary treatment under the law. M&K also argued that New Jersey’s Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act is excluded by the Federal Controlled Substances Act, and that Mr. Hager’s reimbursement of the marijuana would expose the construction company to potential federal criminal liability for ailment and assistance.
A compensation court denied M & K’s claims and an appeals court upheld the decision.
M & K moved to the New Jersey Supreme Court for review, but the court ruled that M & K did not fit under the limited reimbursement exemption of the Compassionate Use Act and that the construction company “is not exposed to any credible federal crime threat” for doing so medical marijuana paid.
The court found that if the legislature had intended to exclude workers’ compensation under the Compassionate Use Act, similar to the exclusion of private health insurers and government medical assistance programs, “would have expressly included workers compensation insurance in its full list or expanded the exception more generally, as other states have specifically done. “
The court also found that medical marijuana “may provide adequate and necessary care under the New Jersey compensation system.”