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Where an injured worker who had sustained work-related back injuries unsuccessfully sought “conventional” treatment for pain and discomfort and subsequently turned to the use of medical marijuana, the employer and insurer could be required to pay the cost of such “treatment” as long as the injured worker’s authorized health care provider (“HCP”) certified that the use was authorized and consistent with New Mexico’s Compassionate Use Act [N.M. Stat. Ann. § 26–2B–1 et seq.], held a state appellate court. A decision by a state workers’ compensation judge that the medical marijuana use could not be “reasonable and necessary medical care” because it had not been prescribed by the injured worker’s HCP was error; since medical marijuana is not a prescription drug in New Mexico, there could be no prescription written. The employer contended the HCP had only acquiesced to a request by the worker and had not actually authorized the use of the marijuana. At a deposition, the HCP admitted that his actions should not be construed as a recommendation of the substance’s use. The appellate court indicated, however, that the marijuana use was clearly a part of the worker’s treatment plan and conventional treatments had not relieved the worker’s pain. Under these circumstances, the HCP’s certification authorizing the use of the marijuana was the “functional equivalent” of a prescription.
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.
LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.
See Maez v. Riley Industrial, 2015 N.M. App. LEXIS 6 (Jan. 13, 2015) [2015 N.M. App. LEXIS 6 (Jan. 13, 2015)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.03 [94.03]
For a more detailed discussion of the case, see http://www.workcompwriter.com/new-mexico-health-care-providers-certification-of-medical-marijuana-is-functional-equivalent-of-prescription-for-injured-worker/
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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