February 19, 2010

Medical Marijuana in Workers’ Compensation Claims

Medical Marijuana in Workers’ Compensation Claims
by Alissa C. Atkins, Esq.

Recently, New Jersey became the 14th state to authorize the use of medical marijuana for pain management for “debilitating” or “serious” medical conditions. To date, Georgia does not authorize the use of medical marijuana under any circumstances. However, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama are among 12 additional states with a bill pending to introduce similar legislation.

If legalized in Georgia, doctors could be free to prescribe medical marijuana to injured workers even though the Federal government continues to ban recreational use of the drug. The effect of using marijuana to treat injured workers raises significant issues. Generally, medical management is recommended to provide a better quality of life, but the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act is specifically designed to return injured workers to work. If an injured worker is capable of working only while taking medicinal marijuana, should the worker be allowed back in the work force? Workers under the influence of drugs in the workplace could be a danger to themselves, their co-workers, customers, and any number of others with whom they come in contact. Potentially, employers and insurance companies who pay for medical marijuana could become liable for super-added injuries caused by drug intoxication. These ramifications suggest that employers and insurance companies could face rampant exposure if workers’ compensation patients are approved to use this drug.

If you have questions or comments, please reply to this email or contact your David & Rosetti attorney at 404-446-4488 or by visiting our website at www.davidandrosetti.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.