U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Cases Seeking Workers’ Comp for Medical Marijuana

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Cases Seeking Workers’ Comp for Medical Marijuana
CANNANNEW REPORT

JULY 1, 2022 BY EMILY MEEHAN The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two cases challenging Minnesota’s denial of workers’ compensation for medical marijuana used to treat work-related injuries. Two Minnesota employees, Susan Musta, who suffered a neck injury while working as a dental hygienist and Daniel Bierbach, who was injured at his job working for an all-terrain vehicle company, were certified as eligible to participate in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program and began using medical cannabis to treat their pain. They requested reimbursement for the cost of that treatment from their employers pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 176.135, subd. 1 (2020), a Minnesota state law that requires employers to furnish medical treatment as may reasonably be required to treat a work-related injury. Their respective employers opposed the requests for reimbursement, arguing that paying for someone to possess cannabis is prohibited by federal law, specifically the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801–971 (“CSA”). Musta and Bierbach argued that, because employers are not required to possess, manufacture or distribute cannabis in contravention of federal law, merely providing workers’ compensation for marijuana is not preempted by the CSA. Their cases made their way to the Minnesota Supreme Court and presented the following question: Does the CSA preempt an order under a state workers’ compensation law requiring an employer to reimburse an injured employee for the cost of medical marijuana? In both instances, the Minnesota Supreme Court said yes, deciding that employers were not obligated to pay for medical marijuana treatment. Musta and Bierbach appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court invited the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to file a brief before making a decision. The DOJ agreed with the Minnesota Supreme Court that the CSA preempts state law and recommended that the court not take up the pair of cases. It wrote,…

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Source : U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Cases Seeking Workers’ Comp for Medical Marijuana

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