Employers in New Jersey may be ordered to pay for injured workers' use of medical marijuana, was held in the New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday.
In Hager v. M&K Construction the court held that the injured worker Vincent Hager presented sufficient evidence that his prescribed medical marijuana treatment was a "reasonable and necessary" treatment under the State Workers Compensation Act and that the State Compassionate Use The Act may force its employer to reimburse the cost of medicines.
Mr. Hager suffered a back injury when he worked for M&K in 2001 and submitted a claim for compensation to employees, which the company denied on the grounds that the incident was being investigated. Mr. Hager underwent lumbar fusion surgery in 201
In April 2016, a hospice and palliative care physician registered Mr. Hager in New Jersey's medical marijuana program to treat his pain. and relieve him of opioids. He was prescribed two ounces of medical marijuana per month at a cost of about $ 600 per marijuana prescription each month.
Later that year, the construction company acknowledged that Hager had been employed and had suffered an occupational injury, and the parties reached an agreement on medical bills, most medical expenses, temporary disability benefits and third-party loans.
However, M&K denied Hager's request for medical marijuana compensation on the grounds that it was not a necessary treatment under the law. M&K also claimed that New Jersey's Jake Honey Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act is prevented by the Federal Controlled Substances Act and that Hager's reimbursement of marijuana would expose the construction company to potential federal criminal liability for assistance and support.
A compensation court rejected M & K's claim and an appellate court upheld the decision.
M&K sued the New Jersey Supreme Court, but the court ruled that M&K did not fit within the Compassionate Use Act's limited refund exemption and that the construction company "does not face a credible threat of federal criminal charges for paying for medical marijuana.
The Court noted that if the legislature had intended to exclude workers 'compensation under the Compassionate Use Act similar to its exclusion from private health insurance companies and state medical aid programs, it would have "explicitly included workers' compensation insurance in its exhaustive list or extended other exceptions more generally. has explicitly done.
The Court also found that medical marijuana can "constitute reasonable and necessary care under the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Scheme.