In a ruling that could have far-reaching effects, an appeals court in New Jersey ruled this week that a contractor must reimburse a former employee for the cost of the medical marijuana that he uses to treat his incessant pain from a work-related injury.
“This is huge. And the significance of this court decision cannot be overstated,” said Steve Schain, a lawyer with the Hoban Law Group, which specializes in cannabis law. “It sets a precedent for other state’s workers’ comp programs and national private health insurers.”
Vincent Hager was a 28-year-old laborer in 2001 when a truck delivering concrete dumped its load onto him, according to court documents. The resulting nerve damage, and the spinal surgery Hager underwent to relieve the pain, left him unable to work. His employer, M&K Construction, denied his workers’ compensation claim for 15 years, according to court documents.
Hager became addicted to his opioid painkillers. A doctor suggested that Hager wean himself off oxycodone, OxyContin, and Valium with medical marijuana. It worked, and Hager successfully stopped taking the powerful drugs.
The cost of medical marijuana is not usually covered by insurance. That’s because marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 substance by the federal government. [Read More @ The Philadelphia Inquirer]