New Legislation Seeks Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Medical MarijuanaApril 16, 2019
A growing number of states have approved the use of medical marijuana for a range of conditions, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. It is also used to combat the nausea that is often associated with cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. The Maryland Senate recently passed a bill that requires Workers’ Compensation providers to cover the use of medical marijuana as part of an injured employee’s treatment plan. The bill specified that the employee must follow the specific instructions provided by their physician. In addition, if the employee becomes injured due to a misuse of medical cannabis, the employer is not responsible for those injuries.
According to experts in the field, Workers’ Compensation providers understand that they will likely be required to cover marijuana for injured employees, but there are unanswered questions related to cost, dosage, and how the drug will be monitored. A Workers’ Compensation professional with Liberty Mutual said that one of the main issues associated with medical marijuana is the fact that there are no dosages. From a medical perspective, this makes covering medical marijuana more complicated. Unlike other prescription medications that have specific dosage instructions, marijuana cannot be prescribed by a physician. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is still considered a Schedule I illegal drug. In most states, marijuana is in the same category as heroin and cocaine.
Acceptable Forms of Medical Marijuana
While most states do not yet regulate the acceptable forms of medical marijuana, some states limit its use to certain ailments, and only some components of the plant are acceptable. For example, Alabama and Mississippi allow medical marijuana to be used for limited conditions, like epilepsy, whereas California and Oregon are more liberal toward the conditions it is used for, and the form of the drug that is taken. Cannabis can be taken in capsule form, as well as creams and topical oils.
To obtain medical marijuana, the injured worker will have to find a dispensary that sells the product and fill out the appropriate paperwork to be reimbursed by a Workers’ Compensation insurance company. Insurance carriers do not typically reimburse the dispensary directly. According to an insurance professional who has been following medical marijuana and its impact on Workers’ Compensation, the rules surrounding medical marijuana are largely determined by the injured worker, rather than the payer, which has never been seen before.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Secure Medical Benefits
If you or a loved one was injured on the job, and you believe that medical marijuana may be an effective treatment option, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will thoroughly review your case, including your medical records, to ensure that you receive the full benefits you deserve. Our dedicated team will guide you through the claims process and address all your questions and concerns, including those related to medical marijuana. We will not stop fighting for you until we have your complete satisfaction. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.