The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take up two cases that would have had major consequences for companies facing workers’ compensation claims for medical cannabis.
The cases involved two Minnesota workers who were injured on the job and petitioned to have their medical cannabis bills paid for through workers’ compensation. Both workers were certified to participate in the state’s medical cannabis program, but the Minnesota Supreme Court said federal law supersedes state law in the matter of drugs that can be prescribed and therefore ruled that cannabis can’t be covered until federal prohibition of the drug has ended. The court said that forcing companies to pay for medical cannabis could put them in danger of facing federal prosecution.
The cases were appealed and sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. In May, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) advised the court that it should pass on hearing the cases and allow Congress to find a solution at the federal level.
Last week the Supreme Court apparently chose to accept that advice and declined to take up the cases.
A new study has linked medical cannabis laws to lower motor accidents.
According to a study that was recently published in the journal Health Economics, states that have legalized medical cannabis have seen declines in auto insurance premiums, indicating that fewer accidents are occurring following legalization for medical use.
Researchers from Temple University and the University of Arkansas argue that the shift could be due to consumers substituting alcohol use with cannabis use.
“Alcohol is the most commonly detected substance in traffic crashes, and the dangers of drunk driving are well documented,” wrote the study’s authors. “If cannabis and alcohol are economic substitutes … lowering the absolute price of cannabis by reducing legal restrictions could reduce alcohol-related crashes and lead to net improvements in traffic safety.”
The researchers also point out that state restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed and the availability of delivery services could make cannabis users less likely to travel than alcohol users.
“We estimate that existing legalization has reduced health expenditures related to auto accidents by almost $820 million per year with the potential for a further $350 million reduction if legalized nationally,” concluded the scientists.
The director of New Mexico’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD) recently resigned after only months in the position.
According to representatives of the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD), which oversees the CCD, Kristen Thomson has left the division for unspecified reasons. RLD Superintendent Linda Trujillo appointed Carolina Barrera as interim director of CCD until a permanent replacement can be found. Barrera served as deputy director of business operations under Thomson.
Thomson was with the division for fewer than eight months, having accepted the position in November 2021.
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