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Monday, September 8, 2014

Marijuana and Workers’ Comp

Today's post is shared from
There are some who believe medical marijuana and the workplace are a potent mix just waiting to be stirred as increasingly more states approve the herb and its derivatives for medicinal use.
Not only are states approving the use of medical marijuana at an astounding pace, but at least two state supreme courts – in Colorado and in New Mexico – are taking up questions that center on marijuana, the workplace and workers’ compensation.
In Colorado, in Coats v. Dish Network LLC, a man who was injured and using medical marijuana off-duty was fired. A judge upheld the termination as lawful because use of marijuana, while legal for both medicinal and non-medicinal uses in Colorado, violates federal law. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the employer’s right to fire the employee, but the Colorado Supreme Court has granted a review of the case.
In New Mexico, Vialpando v. Ben’s Automotive Services and Redwood Fire & Casualty is believed to be the first case in the nation in which a judge has ordered an insurance carrier to reimburse a workers’ comp claimant for the cost of medical marijuana to treat back pain.
That case is being appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), insurers are starting to receive requests to pay for medical marijuana. However, there are those who believe that at this stage questions arising around workers’ comp are all talk and no action.
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