On June 30, 2021, the First District Court of Appeal of Florida, in Jones v. Grace Healthcare, ruled that marijuana is not reimbursable in workers compensation and a referral to a physician authorized to prescribe medical marijuana is not medically necessary.
In this case, a claimant sought authorization from his workers compensation insurer for a referral to a healthcare provider evaluation that would facilitate medical marijuana treatment. The court said that the medical necessity of an evaluation could not be considered without first looking at the treatment objective of the evaluation—the acquisition of marijuana. The court then noted that medical marijuana is not reimbursable in workers compensation pursuant to Florida statute 381.986(15). Therefore, the court concluded, there could not be any medical necessity in an evaluation tied to that treatment.
The court also found that under federal law, specifically the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), marijuana is not safe and has no use in medical treatment. The court added that the United States Constitution requires the application of the CSA, even though some states—including Florida—permit the purchase, possession, and use of medical marijuana.
This decision could be appealed. NCCI will monitor future developments.
For more information on other cases monitored by NCCI’s Legal Division, visit previous Court Case Updates and
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