In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division held in January 2020 that an employee’s costs to use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain resulting from a work place injury is reimbursable by his employer.
The employer argued that the workers’ compensation order to reimburse Hager for his medical marijuana violated the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), which criminalizes the possession, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana and therefore preempts New Jersey’s Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (“Jake Honig Act”). The employer further argued that the order required it to aid and abet the employee’s illegal use and possession of marijuana in violation of the CSA.
In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division determined that employers in the state must reimburse employees for medical cannabis following a workplace accident, despite federal prohibitions against cannabis distribution. The January 13, 2020 decision in Hager v. M&K Construction, Case No.
They further argued that the plaintiff’s use of medical cannabis to treat his chronic pain arising from a work-related injury was both “reasonable and necessary.”
The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a similar ruling last year, as have lower courts in several other states, including Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and New Mexico.