The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently delivered a landmark ruling in the field of workers’ compensation and cannabis law. The case originated with attorney Mark Schmidt seeking reimbursement for CBD oil prescribed after a workplace back injury. Initially, Schmidt’s claim was rejected by his employer, leading to a legal battle. A workers’ compensation judge first ruled in Schmidt’s favor, categorizing CBD oil as a medical supply under the Act. However, this decision was reversed by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, citing FDA warnings against CBD marketing practices.
The Commonwealth Court, led by Judge Anne Covey, overturned the Board’s decision. The court criticized the Board for overstepping its bounds in fact-finding and incorrectly interpreting the legal status of CBD oil. The ruling clarified that the lack of FDA approval does not make the use or employer reimbursement of CBD oil illegal. This decision, focusing on the legality of CBD oil rather than its FDA approval status, marks a significant shift in the legal landscape, potentially influencing future interpretations of CBD use in medical treatment and workplace injury recovery.
This ruling also questions the conservative views of regulatory bodies like the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the Department of Agriculture, which have regarded consumable CBD products as unlawful due to the lack of FDA approval. The Commonwealth Court’s decision highlights the need to reevaluate the legal standing of CBD oil in Pennsylvania, especially in workers’ compensation cases.