Workers’ Compensation

Ca. Workers' Comp. Quarterly Vol. 35, No. 3, 2022

Cannabis and Comp



The legal status of cannabis in the United States is an evolving landscape. California is a leader in the push for legalization of cannabis. However, California is also less progressive, or outright confusing, in terms of what the legalization of cannabis means for the daily lives of those who use it for medical and recreational purposes. In the context of workers’ compensation, the state of California is ambiguous as to the impact of cannabis on injured workers who may benefit from its use in treating their work injuries. For example, try to answer the following questions with clarity: Can an injured worker get cannabis for treatment in a workers’ compensation claim? Can the employer be made to pay for it? The answer to each of those, in the view of this author, is: It’s complicated. This article attempts to provide answers to those questions as far as existing law can provide guidance and to discuss the legal framework for workers’ compensation practitioners addressing these issues.


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