On June 21, the US Supreme Court dismissed two cases Petitions for a transfer order It was brought in by injured workers in Minnesota who sought compensation for medicinal cannabis used to treat work injuries.
Specifically, the petitioners sought review of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) impeded Minnesota law, resulting in the denial of coverage and/or reimbursement for medical cannabis in connection with workers’ compensation claims.
Before dismissing the petitions, the US Supreme Court invited US Attorney General, Elizabeth Parchas Prilugar, to submit a brief expressing the views of the United States on the questions. The attorney general confirmed that CSA is in fact preempting state law, albeit on a different theory than the courts below.
The attorney general acknowledged that there was disagreement in state courts over safeguards, but argued that state courts had not yet adequately considered potential theories of federal preemption. Therefore, the government urged the US Supreme Court to reject the review and allow this rapidly developing area of law to develop further, which is exactly what the Court did.
This isn’t the first time a state court has ruled on workers’ compensation coverage for medical cannabis. In fact, in 2014, the New Mexico Court of Appeals agreed to pay claims related to medical cannabis for work injuries.
However, rulings in similar cases in other states have been inconsistent. New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey found that state law did not conflict with the CSA and authorized workers’ compensation claims for medical cannabis, while Maine, Massachusetts and Minnesota found that CSA preempted state law.
Mass movement in New Mexico
Recently, a New Mexico cannabis company, Top Organics-Ultra Health, along with six medical marijuana patients, filed a class action lawsuit in Albuquerque County Court, seeking insurance coverage for medical marijuana, asserting that medical marijuana should be covered because it Legitimate behavioral health service.
The lawsuit is based on the passage of Senate Act 317, which requires insurance companies to cover the full costs of behavioral health services, “including prescribed treatments for behavioral health conditions.”
The bill was passed in April 2021 and took effect on January 1.
Healthcare providers recommend that patients use medical marijuana to help combat mental health and behavioral problems, but patients still have to pay for medical marijuana, a practice that patients and Ultra-Health claim violates Senate Bill 317.
Various insurance companies were also named in the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Ultra-Health and six medical marijuana patients are seeking “to heal themselves, and every other patient with behavioral or mental problems in a similar situation is unlawfully subjected to paying the full cost of medically necessary cannabis, in violation of state law.”
The lawsuit comes months after Ultra-Health sent a letter to insurers and the Office of the Insurance Superintendent, calling on insurers to include coverage for medical marijuana used to treat behavioral health conditions.
The letter provided data showing that of 134,307 patients enrolled in the state medical marijuana program, more than half were diagnosed with PTSD. The letter also noted that New Mexico law already requires workers’ compensation insurance companies to provide coverage for medical marijuana. When regulators and insurers failed to respond to the Ultra-Health letter, the parties sued.
Dennis Buchanan’s stores were fully stocked with THC foods because it was ready on July 1, when a new state law legalizing it went into effect.
what does he say: Just don’t ask Buchanan to identify the local manufacturer that supplies their CBD joint stores in Minneapolis, Rochester, and Esanti.
- “I don’t want everyone to know. I want to have my product because that’s the problem now. A lot of people don’t have (a) compatible product,” he told Axios.
What is happening: Legalizing food and drinks with up to 5 milligrams of THC has Minnesota companies scrambling to understand the new regulations in hopes of reaping big profits.
- If opening weekend is any indication, the cuisine is in great demand. Long lines formed outside tobacco and CBD stores and many retailers quickly ran out of product.
why does it matter: For local businesses, food is a big risk and potentially a big reward.
Already brewing Co-founder Tom Whisenand is developing a non-alcoholic seltzer infused with 2 mg of THC and 2 mg of CBD and hopes to hit the market on August 1.
- He’s already created a liquid CBD-infused gas for three years and is using the same process to create his new THC product, called Two Good.
- The brewery plans to distribute wholesale to retailers and is on the way from the brewery in Northeast Minneapolis
- The state regulator has I suggested Sales from breweries will not be permitted; Whisenand thinks otherwise.
while, Other manufacturers are waiting and watching.
Tina Rexing, Owner of T-Rex Cookie Co. , is interested in making THC cookies, but doesn’t want to be on the “bleeding edge” of the rush.
- Rexing is looking at rules in other states that require bakeries to separate their regular bakery from a THC bakery, and they’re not ready to invest in another kitchen.
Plus, It is not clear whether banks and payment processors will allow THC deposits and purchases due to federal laws.
- Buchanan stores take cash only at the moment; Indeed intends to accept credit cards and be able to make deposits with its bank.
Yes and: Almost everyone interested in THC expects the Minnesota legislature to put more rules and regulations around THC next year, adding to the industry’s uncertainty.
Bottom line: Rexing is in talks with a CBD company she could partner with to make the products, but she is being patient. A bad batch of THC cookies could damage their popular T-Rex Cookie brand.
- “It’s a scary space to get into, because there are so many unknowns,” she said.