New Jersey court rules company must reimburse medical marijuana costs

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In a ruling that could “fortify medical marijuana programs,” the appellate division of the Superior Court of New Jersey decided that workers’ compensation law requires an employer to reimburse MMJ costs to a worker suffering from chronic pain.

In a 31-page opinion about the case – Hager v. M&K Construction – the judges concluded the order requires the company to reimburse the petitioner for the purchase of the MMJ, not to “aid and abet petitioner’s possession of an illegal substance,” as the company argued.

The court said it finds “no conflict between the CSA (federal Controlled Substance Act) and MMA (the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.)”

Steve Schain, a senior attorney in the Philadelphia office of the Hoban Law Group, wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily that the decision is a “terrific step forward for Jersey.”

Schain said the ruling not only will “fortify medical marijuana programs” but also would be relevant for the “inevitable launch” of recreational cannabis sales in New Jersey.

He added that “with more work comp laws requiring coverage, health insurance carriers will soon be required to follow suit and provide coverage for medical marijuana treatment costs.”