The state of Georgia is on track to expand its existing medical marijuana laws. How will the more lenient laws affect the relationship between medical marijuana and workers’ compensation?
Georgia state law currently allows for the possession and use of cannabis oil by medical marijuana patients. However, the 2015 act did not permit the cultivation, purchase, or distribution of the plant in the state. The prohibition has forced residents who are prescribed marijuana as a treatment for medical conditions to search for suppliers outside of the state, and illegally bring cannabis into Georgia.
House Bill 324, once enacted, would legalize medical marijuana growth and sale in Georgia. The law raises a question that has plagued businesses, employees, and legal professional as marijuana permissions around the country have continued to expand: Does workers’ compensation cover medical marijuana prescriptions?
Marijuana can be used to treat several work-related injuries and ailments, including chronic pain and mental conditions such as stress, anxiety, and PTSD.
Under Georgia workers’ compensation law, employers in the state are required to cover the costs of any medical care that is needed to treat a work-related injury, such as surgery, rehabilitation, and medicinal expenses. A medical marijuana prescription that was issued for the treatment of a work-related condition could fit into the categories of benefits provided by Georgia state workers’ compensation law, however, the coverage of medical marijuana is not currently legally mandated. Some states, such as New York, do require workers’ compensation plans to cover medical marijuana expenses (under certain conditions).
Georgia’s medical marijuana expansions are still in the infantile stages, so as of right now, it is undetermined if any laws will be enacted to require coverage. As Georgia follows other states in allowing more medical marijuana freedoms, it is entirely possible the state will follow the lead of legally-mandated workers’ compensation coverage as well.
For now, medical marijuana cases should be treated like any workers’ compensation claim. It is important to consult with a lawyer to understand and defend your rights.Schedule a free consultation with The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC to discuss your workers’ compensation case. Contact us online or call (770) 741-2825 to get in touch with our team of attorneys. We offer services in Spanish, Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian!