U.S. Supreme Court is encouraged to solve states’ disputes on medical cannabis reimbursements for job-related injuries


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The U.S. Supreme Court is being urged to resolve a materializing dispute into whether or not employers can be reasonably forced to provide medical cannabis reimbursements for job-related injuries.

So far, courts across the nation have met different conclusions something that has previously helped to deter the high court from intervening. 

The latest case focuses on a dispute between a medical cannabis patient named Susan Musta and Mendota Heights Dental Center in Minnesota.

Empire State NORML and two pro-cannabis groups—namely the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association and the New York City Cannabis Industry Association—initiated the court case.

Members of the organizations say that the judges ought to launch an appeal outside of Minnesota. Specifically, the group members say that an appeal of this kind could help to permanently clean up conflicting state and federal cannabis laws. 

An integral component of the argument centers around inconsistencies in regards to the federal government’s implementation of cannabis laws. Because of this, the group members say, cannabis prohibition should be repealed in its entirety.

The Court should take this opportunity to prevent the further spread of this insidious condition by invocation of the Doctrine of Estoppel,” reads an excerpt from the brief. “It should find that the Schedule I status of cannabis under the federal Controlled Substance Act is no longer enforceable; doing so will cure the problem.”

What prompted the legal case into medical cannabis reimbursements for job-related injuries?

The case involving Musta and Mendota Heights Dental Center ignited after an argument pertaining to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which prevents a Minnesota state law from pressuring employers to grant medical cannabis reimbursements for job-related injuries.

During October, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the CSA did, in fact, block the reimbursement a ruling that caused confusion on the subject among state courts.

A similar outcome recently surfaced in the Maine Supreme Court. Meanwhile, New Hampshire and New Jersey’s supreme courts have decided that, in spite of federal cannabis prohibition, medical cannabis patients can receive reimbursements for workplace-related injuries.

Courts have been bedeviled with difficult questions regarding how to apply state [cannabis] laws in the shadow of the federal prohibition on [cannabis],” reads an appeal from Musta. “As more and more states legalize and regulate medical and recreational [cannabis], cases raising these questions will multiply. This Court’s guidance on this important issue is urgently needed.”

Brief argues that cannabis should be banished from Schedule I category

Taking into consideration the federal government’s equivocal attitude towards cannabis reform, Holland’s brief argues that the CSA’s Schedule I definition should be abolished completely.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), cannabis’ classification means that it is not currently accepted for medical purposes in the U.S. and it may have a high potential for abuse.

The festering supremacy and nullification legal carbuncle continues to infect American jurisprudence with regard to the Schedule I designation of cannabis. It must be eradicated to end this constitutional crisis,” the brief continues.

January 14 is the date on which the Supreme Court is expected to deal with the case. First, Mendota Heights Dental Center must submit its response to Musta’s appeal.

“The need for supremacy of all rational federal laws, Due Process, and notions of fairness all should compel this Court to invoke the Doctrine of Estoppel to cure this problem once and for all,” the written legal argument concludes.