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New Mexico Shocker – Rocky Mountain High – Dangerous Barrier Broken

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Rocky Mountain High – In New Mexico

A New Mexico Court of Appeals has recently ruled that an injured employee’s Workers Compensation carrier must pay for his marijuana prescription.  The ruling even noted the federal laws for medical marijuana would prohibit the use.

Picture Of New Mexico Rocky Mountain High
Wikimedia – Decumanus

According to the Santa-Fe New MexicanThe New Mexico court on Monday upheld a decision by a workers’ compensation judge that medical marijuana was “reasonable and necessary medical care” from a health care provider under terms of workers’ compensation law.

One thing that I noted from most of the buzz (no pun intended) was how well this was covered in all the Workers Comp press.  The Santa-Fe New Mexican also noted that the worker had a 99% disability – how does one get a 99% but not 100% – interesting.

The dangerous barrier that this could have broken in being stoned while on the job.  Over the years, I have paid and watch insurance companies lose in the courts over whether or not the alcohol or marijuana was “the proximate cause of the accident.”  

Did the New Mexico Court of Appeals just allow an avenue for marijuana to be used on the job by anyone that has a medical marijuana card?  The conundrum will not be the worker using it while on the job.   However, will a positive marijuana test hold any water to deny a claim if the person happen to have a marijuana card?   They are not that hard to obtain.  Try weedmaps.com to find the nearest Dr. that will write you a RX for pot. 

Rocky Mountain New Mexico And Lake
Wikipedia – Gorgo

Many years ago, I denied a claim due to a worker falling through an open skylight and falling in a bathtub.  The spinal injury was minor, however, the area was taped off with that “DO NOT CROSS” yellow tape that he had to break to make it to the skylight.   

These are two articles that I previously wrote about marijuana.  Check here and here.  There is going to be a rush of articles in the news on this ruling and every time there is a decision on medical marijuana.  

I will try to keep the blog updated on these New Mexico and other rulings. 

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications

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