Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper, Co.
Sedgwick Claims Management Services
August 23, 2016
Medical Marijuana Conflict with Federal law
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
A judge can find the costs of medical marijuana to be reimbursable under the Act.
The Workers' Compensation Board Appellate Division affirmed decisions by two administrative law judges granting the employees’ Petitions for Payment of Medical and Related Services and ordering the employers/insurers to reimburse the employees for the expense of medical marijuana. The Noll case was an en banc decision of 7 of the 8 administrative law judges, rather than the normal panel of 3 judges, so the opinion is universal among them.
The judges below rejected the employers/insurers’ arguments that, although Maine law permits medical marijuana, federal law still prohibits the sale of marijuana for any reason, and that health insurers are exempt from Maine's medical marijuana law. The Appellate Division agreed with the judges that federal law did not expressly prohibit the reimbursement of expenses that the employees had requested, that the federal drug enforcement agencies have indicated a disposition to not prosecute individuals in states with medical marijuana laws, and that workers’ compensation insurers are not health insurers within the meaning of the exemption.