Comp and Cannabis: MD Sees ‘Opening Day’ for Medical Marijuana Dispensary


By Dara Barney

This is the next article in's “Comp and Cannabis” series, as Editor Dara Barney explores medical marijuana legislation state-by-state, and what it means regarding workers' compensation.


Rockville, MD ( - Rockville, MD-based Potomac Holistics became officially open last week after years of delays, writes Janissa Delzo of Newsweek. “…Any patient in the state who seeks to purchase medical marijuana as a treatment option must have approval from their medical provider and be diagnosed with one of the following conditions: cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, chronic or severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission,” she writes.

Also noted: Medical provider can also include “…nurse practitioners, dentists, podiatrists, and nurse midwives.” According to the article, a medical marijuana bill passed four years ago, but plants weren’t cultivated until this year. 

While the original law gave permission to academic medical centers, no one jumped at the opportunity. “…Therefore, the law was changed the following year to give permission to licensed doctors to offer marijuana as a treatment option for certain conditions. As of September 2, nineteen companies were enrolled in the medical marijuana program, The Washington Post reports.” 

“As of Dec. 1, 2017, licensed companies are sending medical cannabis to licensed dispensaries to sell to qualified patients. For the next few months, dispensaries will be building up their inventories of medical cannabis products. Recreational marijuana use remains prohibited in Maryland,” said Christopher Garrett, Director of Communications for the Natalie M. LaPrade 
Medical Cannabis Commission.

“The state laws and regulations governing the medical cannabis industry are categorized under state health,” he told via email. The Commission is a part of the Maryland Dept. of Health.

But what does this mean for injured workers?

When asked if the state Dept. of Health had seen any injured workers requesting insurance coverage for ailments that could only be helped by medical marijuana, Garrett brought up public and private sector employees.  

“I would imagine that state government workers would see the same distribution of ailments that their private sector counterparts would have. Whether a person has registered and has been qualified by a physician to receive a medical cannabis product, ultimately, is a confidential matter under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act),” he said. 

The Maryland Insurance Administration hasn’t seen much talk of coverage for medical marijuana as of yet.  

Tracy Imm, Director of Public Affairs for the Maryland Insurance Administration, said “…We have not been engaged in any discussion around these matters,” when asked about insurance reimbursement for medical marijuana use in injured workers.  

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