NM Court of Appeals reaffirms that medical marijuana is covered by workers’ compensation

Last year, in Vialpando v. Ben’s Automotive Services, the Court of Appeals upheld the validity of a workers’ compensation award directing an employer and insurer to reimburse a worker for the cost of medical marijuana used to relieve pain. (You can see my coverage of that case here).

On Friday, in Lewis v. American General Media, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed that employers and insurers must reimburse the cost of medical marijuana, again rejecting an argument that the admitted conflict between the federal Controlled Substances Act (which prohibits possession or use of marijuana) and New Mexico law makes the order unlawful.

The Court, in an opinion by Judge Wechsler, relied on recent policy statements from the Department of Justice, which indicate some willingness to allow the States to set their own marijuana policies, and a congressional prohibition on using federal funds to prevent states like New Mexico “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana,” as showing that federal policy is “ambiguous,” whereas New Mexico’s policy favoring the availability of medical marijuana is clear.

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2 Responses to NM Court of Appeals reaffirms that medical marijuana is covered by workers’ compensation

  1. Peter says:

    And suddenly, workplace injuries in New Mexico increased by 300%… 😉

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