New Aimed Alliance Publication: Health Coverage of Certain Cannabis Products Poses Risks to Employers & Employees Alike

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Policymakers Should Oppose Efforts to Mandate Coverage of Non-FDA-Approved Cannabis Products that Conflict with Federal Laws & Increase Risk of Employer Liability

WASHINGTON, DC., JUNE 8, 2021 — Today, Aimed Alliance announced the release of Dazed and Confused: Making Sense of Employers’ Risks from Mandated Coverage of Non-FDA-Approved Cannabis Products, a new publication featuring analysis on risks associated with insurance mandates of non-FDA-approved cannabis products. Recently, states such as Hawaii and New Jersey have introduced legislation that would require health plans and/or workers’ compensation programs to cover such products. However, the Aimed Alliance article, published in the Seton Hall Legislative Journal, concludes that non-FDA-approved cannabis products pose certain health and safety risks to employees and liability risks for their employers. Furthermore, these state bills conflict with or are preempted by existing federal laws.

“This publication makes clear that state lawmakers should strongly oppose any efforts to introduce, support, or enact legislation that mandates coverage of non-FDA-approved cannabis products,” said Stacey L. Worthy, counsel to Aimed Alliance. “An insurance mandate could create unique challenges for employers, including potential personnel decisions, including hiring, firing, and disciplinary actions.”

Today, most non-FDA-approved cannabis products remain illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FDCA). Marijuana is still a Schedule I substance under the CSA, meaning that it has no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. Non-FDA-approved cannabis products, including cannabidiol (CBD) products, are often marketed for therapeutic purposes in violation of the FDCA.

“Due to the lack of FDA oversight and unpredictable quality of non-FDA-approved cannabis products, employees risk ingesting high amounts of THC or contaminated and unsafe substances, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and controlled substances, such as K2/spice,” added Ms. Worthy. “If employees, especially those operating heavy machinery, are impaired in the workplace, they risk serious physical harm to themselves or others, and employers may face liability, including loss of federal contracts and civil penalty.”

The Aimed Alliance publication provides key background information on the landscape of federal and state laws governing the use of cannabis products and analyzes how proposed legislation to mandate coverage of non-FDA-approved cannabis products would conflict with existing federal statutes and create significant employer challenges and liabilities.

The publication can be read in full here.

 

About the Aimed Alliance

Aimed Alliance is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit health policy organization that works to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers. Aimed Alliance achieves this mission by conducting legal research and analysis; developing sound, patient-centered policy recommendations; and disseminating its findings to inform policymakers and increase public awareness. Learn more at AimedAlliance.org.

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