A medical marijuana advocacy group in Washington, DC, says the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled not considering whether employees can be reimbursed for their medical marijuana-related costs by reimbursing employees further complicates the issue of state regulations compared to the federal government.
NORML issued a statement on 21 June the Federal Court’s denial of certiorari not to intervene in several different state supreme court decisions “only exacerbated the division between the supreme state courts as it continues to circumvent the fundamental issue of cannabis’ medical validity, a key factor in the appointment of Schedule I, said David Holland, CEO and legal director of Empire State NORML, in a statement released on Friday.
The fact that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level has made the labor industry confused about what to do when an injured worker seeks medical marijuana treatment for pain or other ailments, which is allowed in some states.
In 2021, the Supreme Courts of New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York confirmed employees’ ability to receive financial compensation for their use of medical cannabis, while the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the opposite, according to NORML.
Currently, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York explicitly allow employees to have their medical cannabis costs reimbursed. However, seven states explicitly prohibit insurance coverage from reimbursing medical marijuana-related expenses: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington.
In all other jurisdictions, the law is either silent on the issue or states that insurers are “not obligated” to compensate employees injured at work for the costs associated with their use of medical cannabis, according to NORML.