NJ Judge Rules Workers’ Compensation Must Pay for Man’s Medical Marijuana

NJ Judge Rules Workers’ Compensation Must Pay for Man’s Medical Marijuana

An Administration Law Judge in New Jersey has ruled that a man’s medical marijuana must be paid for by his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

Andrew Watson injured his hand while working at 84 Lumber in 2014. He qualified for the state’s very limited medical marijuana program that year but, after buying a little more than 2 ounces, he stopped using it due to it being prohibitively expensive (an ounce of medical marijuana in NJ costs, on average, almost $500).

Judge Ingrid L. French praised Watson’s course of pain management and his use of cannabis to get away from prescription narcotics in her ruling. "As a result of his improved pain management, he has achieved a greater level of functionality,” French said. “{H}is approach to his pain management needs (is) cautious, mature and overall he is exceptionally conscientious in managing his pain."

"The evidence presented in these proceedings show that the petitioner's 'trial' use of medicinal marijuana has been successful," the judge continued. "While the court is sensitive to the controversy surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana, whether or not it should be prescribed for a patient in a state where it is legal to prescribe it is a medical decision that is within the boundaries of the laws in the state."

The ruling, the first of its kind in New Jersey, doesn’t affect the state’s medical marijuana law, but it does enhance the mainstream nature of marijuana as a medicine and as an alternative to “approved” pain medications like Percocet and Vicodin.

In fact, any court ruling or new law that enhances the ability of someone to use marijuana legally is a step forward. Through many small steps prohibition will be brought to its knees.