Andrew Watson, a 39-year-old lumber worker, severely injured his hand in a power saw accident in 2008. Doctors prescribed opioid painkillers for his chronic neuropathic pain, but Watson signed up for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program in 2014. He wanted his insurer at Gallagher Bassett to pay for it, but they had refused for the past several years.
But Philly.com reported that Judge Ingrid French ruled in favor of Watson last month, deeming cannabis “reasonable and necessary” in his pain management since prescription opioids had not been successful. She considered testimony from local neurologist and psychiatrist, Edward H. Tobe, who cited both the benefits of medical marijuana and the potential for addiction and overdose with the Percocet that Watson was prescribed. French also described Watson’s approach as “cautious, mature, and overall … exceptionally conscientious in managing his pain.”
Watson, who was forced to stop using pot in 2014 because he couldn’t afford to pay for it on his own, will now receive payments from Gallagher Bassett for his medical cannabis treatments.