Maine WC Alert: WC Board Appellate Division Rules on Medical Marijuana Reimbursement

Workers' Compensation Alert

The Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division recently issued decisions in Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Company, WCB App. Div. No. 16-26 (August 23, 2016) and Noll v. Lepage Bakeries, Inc., WCB App. Div. No. 16-25 (August 23, 2016). The Appellate Division found that federal law does not prohibit requiring the workers’ compensation employer and insurer to pay for medical marijuana. The Appellate Division held that workers’ compensation insurance is casualty insurance, not health insurance, and therefore the provision in the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act which states that chapter may not be construed to require “[a] . . . private health insurer to reimburse . . . costs associated with the medical use of marijuana” does not bar a workers’ compensation insurer for reimbursing costs related to the use of medical marijuana. Under Maine law the workers’ compensation insurer is responsible to pay for medical marijuana found to be reasonable and necessary to treat chronic pain related to a work injury.