Hager v. M&K Construction
Hager v. M&K Construction (New Jersey Supreme Court, April 13, 2021): The court upheld a workers’ compensation court order requiring M&K Construction to reimburse plaintiff Vincent Hager for the ongoing costs of the medical marijuana Hager was authorized and recommended to use after sustaining a work-related injury while employed by M&K. The employer alleged that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), under which marijuana is illegal, preempts the New Jersey medical marijuana statue; that requiring the company to pay for marijuana places it in jeopardy of violating federal law; and that medical marijuana is not compensable under the state worker compensation statute. The court upheld the workers’ compensation order, finding that (1) medical marijuana could constitute reasonable and necessary care under the NJ workers’ compensation statute; (2) the CSA, as currently applied and enforced by the federal government, does not preempt state medical marijuana law; and (3) the fact that the employer is compelled by state order to reimburse for the marijuana eliminates the already infinitesimal possibility that the employer could be subject to federal criminal charges. Read the full decision here.