Tag: medical (page 2 of 34)

New Jersey Judge Rules in Favor of Insurance Company Covering Medical Cannabis Expenses

Cannabis in the workplace just got even more complicated. Under Federal law, employers have the right to terminate an employee if they discover that person uses cannabis, whether illegally or legally through state medical and recreational laws.

However, a recent court ruling has added another layer to the liabilities undertaken by employers and their insurance firms.

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New Jersey Judge Ingrid French, who has worked with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, recently ruled in favor of an employee seeking reimbursement for medical cannabis expenses after a workplace injury.

Andrew Watson, a 39-year-old worker at an 84 Lumber location, developed intractable neuropathic pain after a power saw accident in Watson enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program in 2014, and was seeking insurance coverage for both past cannabis expenses as well as future treatments.

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Judge French heard expert testimony from a psychiatrists with neurological focuses, and agreed with their assessment that Watson’s condition was well within New Jersey’s list of qualifying medical conditions for cannabis use.

While the ruling does nothing to protect workers from termination from anti-cannabis employers, it does set an interesting precedent for the legitimacy of medical cannabis to treat injuries sustained in the workplace.

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One major consideration for other insurance companies is that covering patients using medical cannabis is going to be far less expensive than subsidizing costly opioid treatments, not to mention the human costs associated with the opioid epidemic.

Lawyers representing 84 Lumber and their insurance provider said they do not intend to appeal the decision, which is evidence of a paradigm shift when it comes to cannabis as a universal medical application.

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Cannabis legalization is sweeping the nation, and beyond recreational use, well over half of American states have enacted some legal language regarding the use of medical cannabis for those with debilitating conditions. It is a little bit tricky considering that there is no standard between states as to which conditions are applicable for cannabis treatment.

Some states are incredibly limited, while others like California have unmistakably inclusive policies that cover any pain that might affect normal daily functions.

As these states adopt medical cannabis policies, employers will have to adjust certain workplace policies to reflect both the state and national precedents. These adjustments are of major concern to employer groups, especially in more conservative states that have only recently adopted medical cannabis laws, like Arkansas.
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Many newly-initiated medical cannabis states are holding seminars for employers to learn more about cannabis policies in general, and where the liabilities are likely to present themselves. Some areas of discussion will be conflicts between federal and state cannabis laws, as well as compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and OSHA regulations regarding drug testing.

At the end of the day, drug-free workplace policies can absolutely remain intact, however, cannabis is especially tricky to test for use in a working capacity, as cannabinoids stay within an individual’s system anywhere from one to forty-five days. We have certainly not heard the end of the potential conflicts based on employers checking for on-site impairment versus legal medical use at home.

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Certain states, like Nevada, have medical cannabis laws that require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who hold valid medical registry cards for cannabis use. While Nevada courts have yet to rule on a case that covers this conflict, it is reasonable to assume that the language exists to protect folks who are not abusing the medical cannabis system.

Overall, the ruling was a positive step forward for medical cannabis across the country, but there are still 49 other states that will eventually have to approach this tricky situation.

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Average Traffic Fatalities Decrease After States Pass Medical Cannabis Laws

Researchers from Columbia University have uncovered a positive trend among states with legally accessible cannabis. According to the data, states with medical cannabis laws have seen lower traffic fatality rates than states without legal medical cannabis.

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After reviewing traffic data from 1985 to 2014, the researchers concluded that traffic fatalities dropped an average of 11 percent after medical cannabis laws were passed.

The study, titled US Traffic Fatalities, 1985-2014, and Their Relationship to Medical Marijuana Laws was recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, which is a respectable and influential medical journal circulating among American physicians and regulators.

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These findings are majorly important for future debates on cannabis legalization, as those opposed to cannabis laws often claim that the greatest risks cannabis poses to public health are increased youth exposure and increased traffic fatalities.

One of the key results is that while only 7 of 19 states experienced statistically-significant reductions in traffic fatalities after adopting medical cannabis laws, there was a marked decrease specifically among those aged 15 to 44.

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Anti-cannabis groups are sure to point to the fact that other localized factors are involved in traffic death statistics. Still, the states that saw the biggest death rate reductions are amongthe states that are most adamant about their medical cannabis laws. These magnificent seven are Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

In total, these states had a combined population of 66.844 million in 2014, when the entire American population was listed as 318.9 million according to census data. So in other words, the study concluded that states with a combined 20 percent of the US population were experiencing significant decreases in traffic fatalities, all corresponding to the enactment of medical cannabis laws.

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Additionally, the researchers did not differentiate between states with robust cannabis accessibility versus states that had passed limited medical programs. The seven states listed above have arguably the most progressive cannabis laws in the nation. And to top it off, the two states that saw an increase in traffic mortality rates were Connecticut and Rhode Island, with a combined population of only 4.652 million people.

As good scientists will say, these results are only the beginning, and further research is necessary for American states to make actionable decisions in the future. However, the researchers from Columbia University (as well as the co-authors from UC Davis and Boston University) are extremely confident that their report will help influence policy decisions associated with medical cannabis, even if other local factors assisted with the overall decreases in traffic death rates.

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Another Week in the World of Cannabis: July 1st, 2016

Cannabis is emerging from the shadows of prohibition. Every week, there are advancements in many fields related to cannabis. Cannabis Reports will be re-capping the weekly events of the cannabis community and industry, so that you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

Reuters Reports Californians Will Be Voting on Cannabis in November

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act was submitted along with over 400,000 signatures of adult California voters who want to see the bill on the November ballot. The proposed law would grant recreational cannabis users 21 years and older the right to possess up to an ounce and grow up to six plants for personal use. November marks the twentieth anniversary of California’s historic vote to allow medical cannabis in 1996.

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Judge: Illinois Must Add PTSD to List of Approved Cannabis Conditions

In response to an Iraq war veteran’s lawsuit, a Judge ordered the Illinois Department of Public Health to add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of approved conditions within thirty days. Judge Neil Cohen determined that the administration in charge of reviewing additional conditions was not living up to the language in their charter.

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There are several pending lawsuits for other conditions to be added to the list of approved diseases and symptoms that for which medical cannabis is permitted, including: migraines, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoarthritis, and autism.

Cannabis Amendment Removed from VA Funding Package

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill recently made headlines when a provision for medical cannabis passed an appropriations committee vote. However, the provision was completely removed by the time the House floor voted on the legislation.

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

The House passed the legislation, but there is still hope for the cannabis rider because the Senate was unable to agree on a separate funding dispute involving Zika. The provision could be added back to the funding bill after this weekend.

Recent Study Shows Cannabis Helps Alzheimer’s Disease

In a recently published clinical study, cannabinoids were shown to be effective in reducing the chronic build-up of harmful proteins in the brain. Not only did cannabis display positive anti-inflammatory effects, it also proved to be protective against the future build up of these excess proteins.

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Upcoming Cannabis Events

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Kyoto Hemp Forum – (Kyoto, Japan: July 2)

No matter in which region or country you live, what jobs or businesses you are involved in, whether you are rich, or poor, or whatsoever, the changes you are facing from global industrial pollution are real. As long as we depend on toxic energy that is killing us, there is no sustainable future. It is time to be utilize Hemp as the leading biomass energy provider.

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The Cannabis County Fair – (Laytonville, CA: July 8-9)

Enter the Northern California Collective and Cooperative area- where some of the world’s most renowned medical cannabis products are available to you. Sit back, relax and medicate!

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Chalice California – (San Bernardino, CA: July 8-10)

Welcome to Chalice Festival the premier Music, Glass, Hash and Art event. It is in fact the only festival of its kind that features cannabis and glass art so prominently.

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IMPACT: Cancer & Cannabis – (Denver, CO: July 9)

Topics covered include breast cancer, brain cancer, skin cancer, and much more. Don’t miss this event if you or a loved one has cancer. IMPACT: Cancer & Cannabis is here to answer all your questions. Each panel will have a 10 min Q&A session, and vendors will be on-site to help answer your questions on products, getting a medical card, and more.

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Medical Marijuana: The Physician’s Update – (Portland, OR: July 9-10)

Learn about the history of medical cannabis and how the endocannabinoid system functions. Treatment options and delivery methods for your patients will be presented. Quality control standards and laboratory testing of cannabis will also be discussed.

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Cannazaar – (Denver, CO: July 10)

An outdoor, daytime bazaar-style event with amazaing people and vibes!! Hosting a variety of entertainment, local vendors, unique food trucks, yard games, art installations, designated buses, and crowd-pleaser performers! Cannazaar has something for ALL to enjoy and indulge. Each Cannazaar event has been designed to offer something special and different for each Sunday.

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