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Medical Marijuana Becoming Increasingly Common in Workers’ Comp Claims

Medical Marijuana + Workers’ Comp | Bloom Law Office

Medical Marijuana Becoming Increasingly Common in Workers’ Comp Claims

In states where medical marijuana is legal, such as New Jersey, there’s been a recent increase in judges ordering the drug as part of a workers’ compensation claim. Bloom Law Office is committed to working with workers’ compensation clients to ensure the best, safest, and most fair of terms. In the latest local case, an insurance carrier objected to the request for medical marijuana as part of the settlement claiming that it was still considered a controlled substance by federal law.

Workers’ Compensation and Marijuana

In all aspects of pain management, medical marijuana is increasingly being touted as a safer alternative to prescription drugs like opioids. Workers’ Compensation Judge Lionel Simon ruled on June 28, 2018, that medical marijuana was a reasonable inclusion in the case.

Plaintiff Steven McNeary requested his employer to pay the bill for medical marijuana and initially received pushback. There are still significant disparities between state and local laws when it comes to medical marijuana—especially since it’s not legal in all states. However, Judge Simon required Freehold Township to pay for McNeary’s medical marijuana, which is one step closer to setting a precedence in New Jersey.

McNeary suffers from muscular spasticity. An attorney for defendant PMA Group tried to argue that state laws are pre-empted by the federal laws which still deem marijuana illegal. The attorney also pointed out a ruling in Maine Supreme Court which decided that insurance carriers can’t be forced to pay for any drug that’s illegal under federal law.

PMA Group hasn’t stated whether or not they’ll appeal. However, Judge Simon has said he’s open to feedback from the Appellate Division and Supreme Court. The McNeary v. Township of Freehold will likely be cited in future workers’ compensation claims. If you’re facing such a claim, contact Bloom Law Office today at 855-208-3650.

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