Medical Cannabis Ordered in a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Case

The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission ordered “reimbursement for out of pocket medical expenses/pain management: The employer/insurer shall reimburse the claimant for medical expenses legally permitted in the State of Maryland up to the amount of $200.00 per month, upon receipt of appropriate documentation.” The award was part of a workers’ compensation decision issued on Dec. 17, 2019Baltimore-based law firm Warnken, LLC represented the injured.

The Order of the Court did not say “Give this injured worker his medical marijuana now.” However, the Order was clear that treatments legally allowed by law would be covered. In Maryland, that includes cannabis/marijuana.

The case is currently on appeal on other grounds related to the permanency findings. The insurance carrier did not file an appeal on the medical cannabis/reimbursement issue. The Claimant has a Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission card. His treating foot and ankle orthopedist recommended that the Claimant get medical cannabis as his primary pain management regimen for multiple reasons, including a severe negative reaction to narcotics during his most recent surgery.

Medical cannabis is legal in Maryland with appropriate authorizations.  James Lanier, Esq., of Warnken, LLC argued that his client should be entitled to legally prescribed treatments as allowed by law. The insurance company argued to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, among other arguments, that because they conducted business in multiple states, they would not be able to comply with federal laws if forced to pay for the medical cannabis. They did not make substantial arguments related to the efficacy of the treatment.