Medical marijuana is a rather divisive topic, but studies show that marijuana can be an effective treatment for several conditions, particularly those where people deal with high amounts of pain.
However, when it comes to worker’s compensation, will these benefits pay for it? Or, is it even legal to use it?
What Does the Law Say?
It’s difficult to answer this question because so far there are not a lot of precedences. Missouri only passed a law allowing the use of medical marijuana back in 2018, and only expects to have medical marijuana dispensaries open by 2020.
But even if it’s legal in the state, it doesn’t mean your costs will be covered.
For one thing, marijuana remains classified as a “class 1” drug and illegal at a federal level, which means government employees will most likely not get such a treatment covered. On the other hand, the only way an injured worker could potentially cover their marijuana treatment is if their worker’s comp doctor agrees to it in the first place.
All your medical treatments are established by the doctor chosen by the insurance company or your employer. As a result, the only way you can get marijuana treatment reimbursed is if that doctor prescribes it. Self-medicating or seeing a different doctor just for the marijuana prescription can affect your claim.
Returning to Work Can Be Difficult
Some injured workers can be allowed to return to work, yet still struggle with some issues created by their injury. Consider a scenario where the worker is still dealing with a lot of pain, and as a result, gets a medical marijuana prescription to manage it without turning to opioids or other painkillers.
This can create a safety issue. Marijuana makes you drowsy and can impair your judgment, so it’s natural to understand that employers may not want their workers high on the job. What’s more, because the marijuana is still a class 1 drug, and your employer has the right to ask for a drug test, it also means you can lose your job if it is discovered you were using marijuana while on the clock.
However, at least when it comes to Missouri, most of this is so far just speculation. It can be assumed that neither employers nor the insurance company will openly accept a marijuana prescription during a worker’s comp case, especially if the worker is allowed to go back to work. It remains to be seen how the courts will weigh in on these cases.
Have You Been Injured on the Job?
Have you been injured on the job? You may be entitled to worker’s comp benefits. Get in touch with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney to talk about your case and find out what your legal options are. Call (816) 399-3706 for a FREE case evaluation.