The New Jersey Legislature has introduced Assembly No. 4505, a bill that would require employers and workers’ compensation carriers to provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana.
Before a marijuana reimbursement can be made, at least one other medication or treatment must have been attempted and found to be unsuccessful in treating a debilitating medical condition covered by New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. This includes qualifying conditions like:
- Chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders
- Chronic pain of visceral origin
- Opioid use disorder resulting from the treatment of chronic pain with opioids
- Seizure disorders
- Intractable muscular spasticity
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
At this time, there is a judicial precedence that may require workers’ comp payers to reimburse medical marijuana if found to be medically necessary. The case of McNeary v Township of Freehold saw a New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation judge order the reimbursement of a patient’s medical marijuana in June of 2018. While no higher rulings have yet overruled it, this case, or other cases like it, could see further appeals that change this precedence. Assembly Bill No. 4505 could however cement this policy if passed.
Currently, patients enrolled in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program can purchase two ounces of marijuana per month with no more than 10% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance in marijuana responsible for the euphoric high.