Employers can be required to reimburse injured workers for medical marijuana
May 23, 2023
The Commonwealth Court has ruled in two cases, Fegley v. Firestone Tire and Rubber (WCAB) A.3d (No. 680 C.D. 2021, Pa.Cmwlth. 3/17/23) and Appel v. GWC Warranty Corp. (WCAB), A.3d (No. 824 C.D.2021, Pa.Cmwlth. 3/17/23), that although workers’ compensation insurers are not obligated to pay directly for the injured workers’ prescription for medical marijuana, they can be required to reimburse the insured worker for that expense.
The majority found that there is nothing in the Medical Marijuana, or the Workers’ Compensation Acts, that precludes reimbursement to the claimant. Even though most states now have medical marijuana laws, marijuana remains illegal on the federal level and it is the injured worker who could potentially be violating federal laws, not the insurer.
What does this mean? An injured worker in Pennsylvania who is prescribed medical marijuana as reasonable, necessary, and causally related treatment for a work injury, may seek reimbursement of those expenses from the insurance carrier in compliance with the Medical Marijuana Act and Workers’ Compensation Laws.