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BREAKING NEWS: CAL. SUPREME COURT RULES ON COMP MARIJUANA CASE

April 1st, 2014 No comments

THE FOLLOWING IS AN APRIL FOOLS’ JOKE FROM 4/1/2014.

Hello, dear readers!  Although your humble blogger has confined his ranting to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, in compliance with what I shall only refer to as Judge Wesley Lucan’s restraining “suggestion”, this is a breaking news alert.

In the late hours of yesterday evening, the Supreme Court of California handed down its opinion in the case of Pacific Pipes v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, ruling that the WCAB has jurisdiction to require employers to provide medicinal marijuana to employees treating for or recovering from industrial injuries.

Jack Warner, an employee of Pacific Pipes, claimed to have sustained an industrial injury over a cumulative period resulting in headaches, sleep problems, and generalized pain.  “I get tired after work sometimes,” Mr. Warner was quoted as saying on the steps of the WCAB.

Mr. Warner’s primary treating physician, Mary Jane, M.D., recommended medical marijuana to ease Mr. Warner’s symptoms.  However, as his temporary disability benefits had been exhausted, Dr. Jane also recommended that the employer furnish Mr. Warner with a dark room in which he could smoke marijuana at work prior to performing his duties of operating heavy machinery and driving the local school bus (on an on-call basis).

The employer was admonished to allow great latitude in Mr. Warner’s choice of music during these self-administered “treatment sessions” and to provide nutritional supplements in the form of chips, cookies, and water.

The employer sought WCAB intervention, but was ordered to comply with Dr. Jane’s recommendations.

After winding its way through the lower courts, the Supreme Court finally reviewed the matter and ruled that Labor Code section 4600 specifically requires employers to provide reasonable medical treatment to cure or relieve from the effects of the industrial injury.  The Court further ruled that California Health and Safety Code section 11362.785(d) was unconstitutional, and void.

In writing for the majority opinion, Justice Wender referred to the employer, Pacific Pipes, as a “narc” and strongly urged all parties to just “chill out.”

There has yet to be any comment from a representative of the Federal Government as to how the relevant laws will clash in the future.

Your humble blogger encourages all employers and insurers to smile once in a while, try to take workers’ comp in stride, and enjoy the rest of your April Fools’ day!

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