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February 27, 2020

New Jersey Appellate Court Rules Employer Must Cover Worker's Medical Marijuana

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, has ruled that a construction company must reimburse a former employee for medical marijuana prescribed for chronic back pain after a 2001 work-related accident. The Court rejected the employer’s argument that federal law preempted New Jersey's medical marijuana statute.  The Court noted that the use of marijuana allowed the worker to stop taking opioids, which favored reimbursement "in the light of the opioid crisis in existence today.”  While government medical assistance programs and private health insurers are not required to reimburse medical marijuana costs under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, the Court found that the statute expressly states that the term "health insurance" does not include workers' compensation coverage and therefore workers compensation was not prohibited from reimbursing these costs.