Employee wins 2nd courtroom victory over medical marijuana declare

Andrew Panaggio, a New Hampshire man who has been prescribed medical marijuana to treat his back pain, has won a second win in a lawsuit over workers’ compensation and insurance reimbursement.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in favor of Panaggio, who injured his back at work and was approved by the state Department of Health and Human Services to participate in a therapeutic cannabis program in 2016. The state had argued that the insurance carrier under Federal Controlled Substances Act could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a marijuana possession crime if it had to reimburse itself.

The question: is reimbursement of medical marijuana patient insurance owed?

In a 2019 ruling, the court stated that the state employment agency had wrongly found that workers’ compensation insurance for medical cannabis could not be reimbursed, but the issue of federal law remained unresolved. He had used medical marijuana to treat persistent pain and the labor board found Panaggio’s treatment “medically necessary,” which the insurance company disagreed with. However, payment was denied because “possession of marijuana is still a federal crime” that could potentially prosecute her.

The court found that other courts have examined whether the Controlled Substances Act provides for a government order requiring reimbursement of medical marijuana and that the results are inconsistent. However, in 2018 a Maine case ruled against a paper mill worker who was disabled after being injured in the workplace in 1989. Last year, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that a contractor must reimburse a former employee for the cost of medical marijuana used to treat a person’s pain from an occupational injury.

According to the National Compensation Insurance Council, at least five states have found medical marijuana treatment to be reimbursable under their workers’ compensation laws, and other states have proposed similar laws. Several states have passed laws banning medical marijuana treatment from reimbursement of workers’ compensation. Still, it was a win for Concord, NH’s man, Andrew Panaggio.

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