An increasing number of states are now allowing eligible patients to be reimbursed for their medical cannabis-related costs through their Workplace Injury Insurance (WCI) plans, according to an analysis of state policies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Researchers affiliated with the federal agency evaluated the rules and regulations of 36 states allowing access to medical cannabis. They identified six states – Connecticut, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York – that explicitly allow employees to be reimbursed for their medical cannabis expenses. In three of those states – New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York – refunds were ordered by the courts earlier this year.
In contrast, the authors identified six states where workers’ compensation insurance is expressly prohibited from reimbursing medical marijuana-related costs: Maine, Massachusetts, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington.
In all other jurisdictions, the law is either silent on the issue or states that insurers are “not required” to reimburse employees who are injured on the job for the costs associated with their use of medical cannabis. Arizona could potentially allow medical marijuana under WCI plans.
“For millions of patients, cannabis is a legitimate treatment option,” NORML says. “More and more, our laws and regulations recognize this fact and evolve their policies accordingly. “
The authors said they expected the number of states allowing marijuana-related compensation to increase in the coming years “as more and more workers petition state courts and agencies administrative reimbursement of WCI cannabis ”.