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In a case of first impression, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, considered whether a workers’ compensation judge can order an employer to reimburse an employee for the employee’s use of medical marijuana prescribed for chronic pain following a work-related accident. The case is Hager v. M&K Constr., No. A-0102-18T3, 2020 N.J. Super. LEXIS 4 (Super. Ct. App. Div. Jan 13, 2020).

In 2001, 28-year-old Vincent Hager was employed by M&K Construction (M&K) and working on a construction site when a truck delivering concrete dumped its load on him. Immediately after the accident, Hager experienced lower back pain radiating down both legs. An MRI revealed herniation and bulging disks, and Hager was sent to see a neurosurgeon. Initially, Hager used his private health insurance to pay for the treatment. But when his pain prevented him from working, he left his employment and his health insurance was terminated, so he could no longer afford treatments.

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