On April 13, 2021, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in Hager v. M&K Construction, affirmed an earlier decision by the Appellate Division that an employer can be ordered by a workers compensation (WC) court to reimburse a claimant for reasonable costs related to prescribed medical marijuana as a WC treatment.
The court ruled that in enacting the New Jersey Compassionate Use Act (NJCUA)—the state’s medical marijuana law—the state legislature did not intend for WC insurers to be treated the same as private health insurers and government medical assistance programs under a provision in the NJCUA which states that private health insurers and government medical assistance programs are not required to reimburse for costs associated with medical marijuana use.
The court also found that sufficient medical evidence supported the lower court finding that marijuana was, in this case, reasonable and necessary to treat the claimant’s work-related injuries. The court further concluded that the NJCUA is not preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act as applied to an order for medical marijuana reimbursement issued by a WC court.
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