The Latest Buzz: New Jersey Employer Must Reimburse Injured Employee for Cost of Medical Marijuana

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp News and comes from

Executive Summary: Rejecting Freehold Township’s claim the entire case was barred by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a workers’ compensation judge ruled the municipality must reimburse its employee for the cost of medical marijuana to treat his work-related injury. This contrasts with a recent decision from Maine’s highest court, which held that compliance with an administrative order compelling an employer to subsidize an employee’s use of medical marijuana constitutes aiding and abetting, which is a violation of the CSA.

Analysis: On June 28, 2018, Workers’ Compensation Judge Lionel Simon heard an application by Steven McNeary asking the court to compel Freehold to reimburse him for his medical marijuana purchases. Though McNeary met all criteria to obtain and use medical marijuana under New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), Freehold refused, claiming it would be violating federal law if forced to pay for McNeary’s use of a controlled substance. Judge Simon rejected that argument, finding no conflict between the CSA (designed “to curtail the use and distribution of illicit narcotics for the purposes of the overall general public health”) and the CUMMA (which promotes a “safer, less addictive” treatment for pain).

Judge Simon considered and distinguished Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co., LLC, 2018 ME 77 (2018). There, the appellate court affirmed a workers’…

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