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Medical marijuana reimbursement on PA workers comp claims

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Workplace Accidents |

Earlier this year, a state Commonwealth Court issued a reversal ruling against the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation (WC) Board and the presiding WC judge who had previously denied an employee their reimbursement for medical marijuana (MMJ) prescribed to them as a result of their workplace injury.

The case addressed a worker injured at Firestone Tire & Rubber (Firestone) back in 1977 who received an award that covered his lifetime medical expenses associated with the accident. Proscribed opioid and benzodiazepine drugs by health care providers, the man in question was able to wean himself off the powerful drugs after being prescribed MMJ.

Firestone balks at paying for a patient’s pot

The case, which was filed by the executor of the estate of the now-deceased Firestone worker, challenged the Workers’ Compensation judge’s ruling that Firestone did not have to reimburse the injured worker for the MMJ he was prescribed.

Reversal a win for PA MMJ patients

Six out of seven judges on the panel concurred with the opinion that while the employer was not compelled to “cover” an employee’s MMJ, nothing in state law dealt with Firestone’s responsibility to “reimburse” their former worker’s MMJ costs. In their opinion, the majority noted that while other states had specifically banned MMJ reimbursement costs, the Commonwealth had not, thus opening the door for the executor to claim reimbursement.

Do you have a complex workers’ comp case?

Not all workers’ compensation cases are cut and dried. Some, like this landmark case, are more nuanced and open to different interpretations. Learning more about your legal rights in such circumstances can help you make the best decisions regarding the resolution of your workers’ comp case.