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Should Medical marijuana be covered by No Fault benefits?

June 18, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Sen. Coleman Young II’s SB 346 proposes No Fault auto insurance companies ‘shall provide coverage for the medical use of marihuana’



Should a Michigan auto accident victim’s lawful use of medical marijuana be covered and paid for by Michigan No Fault insurance benefits?

Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit) thinks so.

So do I.

In Senate Bill 346, which Sen. Young introduced on May 21, 2015, he proposes to amend Michigan’s No Fault insurance law to allow coverage for medical marijuana use:

A No Fault auto “insurer shall provide coverage for the medical use of marihuana or for expenses related to the medical use of marihuana if the use is in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, 2008 IL 1, MCL 333.26421 TO 333.26430.”

Assuming that car accident  victims who have suffered serious injury are legally using medical marijuana (in full compliance with the rules and requirements of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act) and assuming the medical marijuana is “reasonably necessary” to the crash victim’s “care, recovery, or rehabilitation” (MCL 500.3107(1)(a)), I agree.

Other lawyers refer to me as an “auto accident” attorney.  I’ve been helping people seriously hurt in Michigan in automobile accidents for the last 20 years. I’m very familiar with chronic pain and what people go through when they’ve suffered catastrophic injuries.

And based upon the scientific research and medical abstracts I’ve seen to date, marijuana can be extremely effective in the treatment of chronic pain and many other serious medical conditions. Marijuana also has less adverse and dangerous side effects – sometimes remarkably less – for the treatment of chronic pain and other motor vehicle-accident-related conditions than many of the medications my clients are currently taking.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which was enacted by Michigan voters through an initiative petition in the November 4, 2008, election (by a vote of 3,006,820 to 1,790,889) and took effect December 4, 2008, states:

“The people of the State of Michigan find and declare that … [m]odern medical research, including as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in a March 1999 report, has discovered beneficial uses for marihuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions.” (MCL 333.26422(a))

If Sen. Young’s proposal succeeds, then it will undo the work of his colleague, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), who, in 2011, introduced Senate Bill 321, which inserted into the No Fault Law the medical-marijuana ban that Sen. Young seeks to remove.

Effective January 1, 2013, Michigan’s No Fault insurance law provided (per SB 321 and, thus, Public Act 542 of 2012) the following:

“An insurer shall not be required to provide coverage for the medical use of marihuana or for expenses related to the medical use of marihuana.” (MCL 500.3107(2)(b))

Notably, although Sen. Young initially voted against SB 321 when it was voted on and passed by the Senate on May 8, 2012, Sen. Young voted for SB 321 when the House’s H-1 “substitute was concurred in” by the Senate on December 13, 2012. Sen. Young’s name was among the 38 “Yeas” in favor of the “Senate Concurred Bill” (per Roll Call No. 1019 on page 2669 of the Senate Journal).

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