WC Insurance Industry and Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been all over the local news for the past 9 months. While the Colorado legislature contemplates regulating the use, the sale and the licensing of patients who wish to use medical marijuana, it appears as though the WC insurance industry is also contemplating what it should do when it comes to injured workers using medical marijuana to treat and relieve the symptoms of their work-related injury. The first indications given by the insurance industry is that they will not pay for marijuana; however, that position, which may or may not be supported by law, is one that is shortsighted. Unfortunately, due to narcotic prescriptions given to injured workers, they become dependent on the same and require a vast more amount of treatment than if they had not become dependent on the narcotics. This not only has a higher claim cost to the carriers and their insureds, but worse, it has a higher human cost. Carriers need to understand that the business decision of paying for medical marijuana versus narcotics can actually save money and prevent injured workers from having to deal with dependency and withdrawal problems. The “taboo” of actually authorizing and paying for medical marijuana appears to remain a huge obstacle to making good business decisions when it comes to helping injured workers live with the symptoms of their work-related injury.

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Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.