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Cannabis legislation requires protection for injured workers for medical use



A new law that allows New Yorkers over 21 to smoke pot in public also includes language that requires injured workers who use medical cannabis to receive the same protection as other workers who use prescription drugs.

New York Government Andrew Cuomo signed on Wednesday S 854, by Senator Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan. The bill removes cannabis from the list of controlled substances, makes it possible to use it in public in all places where tobacco use is also permitted and excludes previous cannabis-related beliefs.

The Senate voted 40-23 to approve the bill on Tuesday, and the Assembly voted 100-49 to approve it the same day.

The bill also contains certain provisions dealing with medical cannabis, including the use of injured workers.

"Employees using medical cannabis shall be granted the same rights, procedures and protections that are available and applicable to injured workers under the Workers' Compensation Act, or any rules or regulations issued therein, when such injured workers are prescribed medications that may prohibit, restrict or require modification of the performance of their tasks, "the law reads.

The 201

4 law that first allowed the use of medical marijuana in the Empire State silenced the protection of injured workers. However, the Compassionate Use Act contained language that states that it should not be interpreted as meaning that an insurance company or health plan should provide coverage for cannabis.

Nevertheless, a New York court of appeals in February upheld a decision by the Workers' Compensation Board ordering compensation insurers for the village of East Aurora to replace former police officer Daniel Quigley for marijuana he used to treat chronic pain from two previous work injuries.

The New York Appellate Division & # 39 ;s 3rd Division said statutory language in the state Compassionate Care Act that rejects an insurers' responsibility to pay for cannabis applies only to public health laws, insurance laws, and social services laws.

"The text of the law does not refer to exemptions from coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act," the court said. 'If the legislature intended that the said exemption would apply to workers' compensation insurance undertakings, it could indeed have included such a language in the Charter; it chose not to do so. "

The Workers' Compensation Board, in a 2017 decision to find that a worker would have been entitled to compensation if his doctor had secured a deviation that enabled the use of medical cannabis, said the mandatory payment consistent with the liberal interpretation of state laws on compensation to workers.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here .

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