Minnesota employers aren't on the hook to cover medical marijuana under worker's comp law, court rules

ST. PAUL — Minnesota employers don’t have to cover the cost of medical marijuana for workers injured on the job, the state’s highest court concluded in a pair of rulings released Wednesday, Oct. 13.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed two lower court rulings, saying that the federal Controlled Substances Act preempts employers from having to pay for medical marijuana treatments for injuries sustained while workers were on the job. The Controlled Substances Act prohibits the possession or use of marijuana, along with other Schedule 1 drugs.

And the high court determined that the employers could be subject to criminal liability if they helped furnish the medical cannabis, which is allowed for eligible patients under Minnesota law but illegal under federal law.

“We agree that a right provided to an individual under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law to secure reimbursement for the use of medical cannabis to treat a diagnosed medical condition cannot be ‘converted into a sword that’ requires an employer to pay for those purchases and thus ‘engage in conduct that would violate the CSA,'” Associate Justice G. Barry Anderson wrote on behalf of the court.

Anderson wrote that Congress could approve and the president could sign into

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