Gaeten Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Comany
January 6, 2023
Katherine Gatti Rooks
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Gaeten Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co.-(attached)- Where the employee failed in his burden of proving that his hemp based CBD “gummies” contained no more than 0.3% THC, thereby removing the product from the Federal Controlled Substances Act, the ALJ did not err in denying Mr. Bourgoin’s petition for payment of medical expenses. In Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co., Dec. No. 23-02, Mr. Bourgoin suffered a 1989 work related injury which resulted in chronic pain. Mr. Bourgoin’s THC treatment expense had previously been addressed In the Law Court decision of Bourgoin v. Twin River Paper Co., 2018 ME 77, the Court held that Twin Rivers could not be compelled to pay for medical marijuana where the Federal Controlled Substances Act preempted Maine’s law legalizing medical cannabis. The Controlled Substances Act prohibits sale and use of cannabis products which contain more than 0.3% THC. On his present petition Mr. Bourgoin was seeking payment of CBD “gummies” which he contended contained less than 0.3% THC. He purchased the “gummies” from a CBD vendor who did not manufacture the product itself but had purchased the product from a separate manufacturer.
The ALJ found as fact that Mr. Bourgoin’s vendor had no way to verify that the “gummies” it sold contained less than 0.3% THC. While Mr. Bourgoin produced test results that showed traces of THC were barely detectable, these results were from labs independent of his vendor and represented testing at the wholesale level. The ALJ further found that the Food & Drug Administration had not approved use of CBD products or the “gummies”. For these reasons, the ALJ was not compelled to find Mr. Bourgoin sustained his burden of proof, and affirmed the denial of the petition.