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DELANO CASE v. << (2021)

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Appeals Court of Massachusetts.



Decided: February 25, 2021

By the Court (Blake, Desmond & Hand, JJ.1)


Mark T. Delano sought compensation, pursuant to G. L. c. 152, §§ 13 and 30, for medical marijuana expenses to treat pain stemming from a work related injury he sustained in 2014. Partners Healthcare System, Inc., which was a self-insurer of workers’ compensation benefits, denied the claim. The claim was denied by an administrative judge, and the denial was affirmed on appeal by the reviewing board of the Department of Industrial Accidents. We affirm.

This case is controlled in all material respects by Wright's Case, 486 Mass. 98 (2020), wherein the court “conclude[d] that [a] workers’ compensation insurer cannot be required to pay for medical marijuana expenses ․ based on the medical marijuana act itself.” Id. at 99.2 As is the case here, the employee in Wright “filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under G. L. c. 152, §§ 13 and 30, seeking reimbursement for medical expenses incurred from his medical marijuana treatment.” Id. at 106. In affirming the denial of the claim, the court considered how the Massachusetts medical marijuana act was carefully drafted within a difficult regulatory environment and contained specific provisions designed to avoid conflicts with Federal law. See id. at 99-106. Given “that the reimbursement limitation provision contained with [the Massachusetts medical marijuana act] prevents a health insurance provider or government agency from being ordered to reimburse a claimant for medical marijuana expenses,” we are constrained to affirm. Id. at 115-116.

Decision of reviewing board affirmed.


2.   We do not see any reason to distinguish this case on the basis that Partners Healthcare System, Inc., is self-insured.

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