As marijuana laws have become more relaxed across the United States, employers and workers alike have begun to reap the benefits of this newfound leniency – primarily as it relates to workers’ compensation claims. A 2021 study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that in states where marijuana has been legalized for adult use, there has been a decrease in workers’ compensation claims.
In NBER’s working paper, entitled, Does Marijuana Legalization Affect Work Capacity? Evidence from Workers’ Compensation Benefits, the researchers studied the impact of recreational cannabis legalization on workers’ compensation claims among adults, aged 40-62 years old. One of the key findings was that there were declines in workers’ compensation claims, “both in terms of the propensity to receive benefits and benefit amount,” as the study’s abstract noted, in states that had legalized recreational cannabis. This is likely because marijuana can help alleviate pain and increase productivity levels, with the study stating, “We offer evidence that the primary driver of these reductions is an improvement in work capacity, likely due to access to an additional form of pain management therapy.”
This is good news for both employees and employers, as workers’ compensation claims can be costly – not to mention time-consuming – to deal with. But what about in Missouri, where marijuana is not yet legal for recreational use?
Suffered a Workplace Injury and Want to Understand Your Workers’ Compensation Options?
So, what does this all mean for workers in Missouri who have been injured on the job? First and foremost, it’s important to note that workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. In some states, marijuana use – even if it is for medicinal purposes – may disqualify an injured worker from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, in states where recreational cannabis has been legalized, workers should not have any trouble accessing workers’ compensation benefits if they have been injured on the job and marijuana was not a contributing factor to the accident.
In Missouri, medical marijuana is legal – over 181,000 Missourians currently hold a medical marijuana card – and recreational use has made it onto the ballot for November, which may mean that the Show-Me State could see a decrease in workers’ compensation claims in the near future. Nevertheless, this can be a confusing issue for many workers, which is why it’s important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney if you have been injured on the job. They can help determine what your best course of action is and ensure that you are getting the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve.
Contact us to Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Regardless of marijuana’s legal status, if you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Chris Miller have helped thousands of injured workers get the benefits they need and deserve, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.