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Court of Appeals Rules Medical Marijuana Must be Covered by Workers' Comp

A man recently injured on the job in New Mexico was encouraged by his doctor to use medical marijuana for the pain. When the case was brought before the state's Court of Appeals, the judges unanimously agreed that workers' compensation was responsible for covering the costs.

This decision led to backlash from the worker's employer and insurer, who claimed that because medical marijuana is considered a controlled substance, it should not be paid for by workers' compensation.

The man's doctor deemed medical marijuana "reasonable and necessary" for his treatment. This aligned with the state's workers' compensation requirements for anyone receiving medical care. Nonetheless, his employer was not pleased.

The employer went on to contest the Court of Appeal's decision by stating that in order for the medical marijuana to be considered reasonable and necessary, the services would have had to be issued from an official health care provider. The court continued to reject this argument and noted that not every facet of the medical care had to come from a health care provider.

In an effort to argue with the court even further, the man's employer claimed that the medical marijuana was not being handled as a prescription drug, as it should be. New Mexico's Court of Appeals responded by firmly refuting this.

Both the employer and insurer said that paying for the medical marijuana implied that they were committing a federal crime. Unfortunately, there was no direct citation of a federal crime and the Court of Appeals reaffirmed the unanimity of their original decision. To read the whole article, click here.

Is Arizona next to require coverage for medical marijuana?

Now the question remains – could Arizona be the next state to require workers' compensation to cover medical marijuana? The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was passed in November 2010 and since then, patients have been applying for ID cards in order to receive medical marijuana.

If indeed this does become the rule for Arizona, our firm is here to answer your questions and guide you through the workers' compensation process. We don't want to see any patient denied the care they need. Call our Phoenix workers' compensation attorney today for guidance.