Insurance Company Must Cover Cost of MMJ, Judge Rules

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Judge Ingrid L. French, a state administrative law judge from New Jersey, handed down a rather thought-provoking decision to start the New Year. Judge French ruled that Andrew Watson’s insurance company is obligated to cover the costs of his voter-approved medical marijuana.

Theoretically establishing a sweet-smelling precedent for patients in The Garden State, Andrew Watson’s case sought financial reimbursement for the medicinal cannabis he purchased at a local N.J. collective, after enrolling in the state’s medicinal cannabis program in 2014.

Considering the request that future medical marijuana expenses be covered by the insurance company, Judge French ruled Mr. Watson’s medical condition were consistent with New Jersey’s list of qualifying conditions.

French listened intently to the testimony provided by the thirty-something Egg Harbor plaintiff and pondered the testimony of a local neurologist/psychiatrist. After much consideration, the judge agreed medical marijuana is indeed medicinal and should be covered by Watson’s insurance company, according to Philly.com:

“The evidence presented in these proceedings show that the petitioner’s ‘trial’ use of medicinal marijuana has been successful. While the court is sensitive to the controversy surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana, whether or not it should be prescribed for a patient in a state where it is legal to prescribe it is a medical decision that is within the boundaries of the laws in the state.”

Concluding Watson’s chosen holistic approach to pain management was preferable to medicating with opiates, Judge French found in her eight-page ruling the plaintiff’s decision was “cautious, mature, and … exceptionally conscientious.”

Potentially setting a future precedent for others to follow, John Gearney, a labor attorney/blogger explained the ramifications of this case.

“There are about 50 workers compensation judges in the state, and they will read it and see what the judge thought when a case like it comes before them.”

Watson’s attorney, Phillip Faccenda, hailed the judge’s ruling as a ”less expensive treatment modality” for patients seeking assistance from New Jersey’s Workers Compensation industry. No longer compelled by insurance companies to choose expensive and addictive opiates over medical marijuana for managing pain, this smells like a win-win for both insurance companies and patients alike in The Garden State.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.

17 Comments

  1. Making the government/insurance pay for people’s cannibus could be a real big problem…since all the free-loaders will likely be asking for this new cannibus freeby as well. Could bankrupt the USA.

  2. Except that cannabis is far cheaper than the usual pharmaceutical prescriptions they’d get instead. The full cost of prescriptions that’s charged to government or insurance is insanely large.

    So how is paying less going to bankrupt the country?

    Your assumption about “all the free-loaders” also implies you have a political agenda of the type that usually gets in the way of intelligent thinking.

    • You’re assuming that all these freeloaders are getting prescription drugs. I’m talking about all the freeloader cannibus users that want free cannibus as well as all their other perks that others, never themselves, pay for (not just medical cannibus users). And in “Medical only” states it’s uber easy to get a red card so if the freeloaders can get it for free….why not? As to whether cannibus is cheaper or more expensive than pharma drugs is entirely debatable.

      I’m sure that you think yours is the only “intelligent thinking” so just take my opinion or leave it.

      • I think you are stump stupid or sorely misinformed. If you really knew what it takes to get the card, the hoops they make SICK people jump through to get it then you would not spew your misinformation. In Illinois you have to get a background check, finger printed, passport photo and then try to get your doc to sign the papers that you really are sick with one of the 41 conditions allowed. Then the minute you step out of your car at the dispensary you are video monitored. You tell me snowflake if the same is applied to doctor prescribed oxy, zanax, percocet, valium and such, you know the stuff people DIE from!!!!

        • First, getting a red card is hard? lol You obviously don’t live in my state….

          Next, calling people stupid to win your argument means you’re a Democrat. Trump WON! Get over it. 🙂

          • First YES getting the card is HARD, because you have to be SICK to get it in the first place. Don’t know your state and don’t care, it’s moot. I call it as I see it and you would be WRONG in your guess but doesn’t matter you by bringing politics into it just proves my words.

  3. No one should promote the canard that marijuana is dangerous,
    like pharmaceutical drugs. Or even that it is a ‘drug’, except in Merriam-Webster’s third and broadest definition, as something which affects the mind. By that definition, religion and television (‘the plug-in drug’) should also be included. In truth marijuana is a medicinal herb, cultivated, bred, and evolved in service to human beings over thousands of years.

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting people to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, break up their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” –John Ehrlichman

    Prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

    In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”. Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter ‘journalists’ as ‘marijuana-related’, a mix of substances was often involved. Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party ten days ago. However, on the whole, as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers, slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. A recent Federal study has reached the same conclusion. And legalization should improve those numbers further.

    No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It’s the most benign ‘substance’ in history. Most people—and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana–use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

    Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Researchers in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries have discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

    Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one’s arm. ‘The works of Man are flawed.’

    Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. In 1936 Sula Benet, a Polish anthropologist, traced the history of the word “marijuana”. It was “cannabis” in Latin, and “kanah bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to antidepressants, which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.

    The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times, it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. And Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

    Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.

    I am appalled at the number of ‘Christian’ politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.

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