Bill Would Stop Workers Comp Payments for Medical Marijuana

FILE—Medical marijuana neon sign at a dispensary in Los Angeles, Calif.

On the 2016 ballot North Dakota voters approved a very complicated measure legalizing medical marijuana. Which is ok, as far as it goes. I’d rather have full-on legalization than this bureaucratic and expensive monstrosity, but that’s what we get when we stupidly legislate at the ballot box.

So it goes.

Before the 2017 legislative session, though, is a bill to prevent workers compensation payments for medical marijuana treatment and to deny any coverage for lost wages resulting from the use of medical marijuana.

Here’s an excerpt from HB1156, sponsored by Rep. George Keiser of Bismarck, showing the latter change to the law:

I thought one of the big problems with the medical marijuana ballot measure was that it made a part of state statute a list of all the situations in which doctors can prescribe medical marijuana. It seems to me that if we’re going to accept marijuana as a valid medical treatment – and the voters have done that – we shouldn’t be dictating to physicians in the law when that treatment is and is not appropriate.

Still, the fact that organizers of last year’s ballot initiative made that sort of overweening regulation a part of the law means they don’t have a lot of grounds to object to this, I suppose.

We should just legalize marijuana already. This drip-drip-drip of partial legalization is going to be expensive and tortuous.

Here’s the full legislation:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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