The Third Department recently held in the Matter of Quigley v. Village of E. Aurora, 2021 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1223 (3d Dept. Feb 25, 2021) that carriers are responsible for paying for, and reimbursing, a claimant’s medical marijuana use, regardless of federal law.

The Third Department Decision however noted that the Workers’ Compensation Law still requires that treatment be rendered in accordance with the Medical Treatment Guidelines and that the claimant would still need a valid prescription.

Furthermore, as medical marijuana is not specifically covered under the Guidelines, a variance request would be needed and the burden of proof to establish that a variance is appropriate and medically necessary is a burden that must be met by the claimant’s doctor. Carriers and self-insured employers can therefore object to medical marijuana requests on the basis that the doctor has not met his burden of proof or by obtaining a conflicting medical report (i.e. IME or record review).

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