The availability of workers’ comp payments has become a hot issue
mployees who use medical marijuana to cope with a work-related injury can’t get reimbursed for it through workers’ compensation, Massachusetts’ highest court held Tuesday.
If workers’ comp insurers had to pay for marijuana, they could in theory be charged with a federal crime since it’s still illegal under federal law to aid or abet someone in using pot, the court said.
“It is one thing to voluntarily assume a risk of federal prosecution” by using pot, Justice Scott Kafker wrote in a unanimous decision, “it is another to involuntarily have such a risk imposed upon you.”
The availability of workers’ comp payments has become a hot issue as medical marijuana continues to be legalized across the country — 33 states and counting. Fueling the trend, injured workers are increasingly turning to marijuana as workers’ comp insurers and boards limit their access to opioids for chronic pain, responding to an addiction crisis that has been ravaged much of the country for years.
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