Can you still collect worker’s compensation if your injury is related to smoking marijuana? In Montana the answer appears to be “Yes you can”
The worker’s comp court awarded Brock Hopkins coverage after he was apparently smoking pot while at work at a Grizzly Bear tourist attraction in the Flathead Valley. Hopkins was an occasional employee of Great Bear Adventures and had entered a Bear pen to feed the bears after smoking some pot and was subsequently attacked by a bear and sustained serious injuries. According to the business owner Hopkins had a habit of blowing smoke in the bear’s faces because it irritated them. It looks like the bear finally got his revenge.
Hopkins did not have a medical marijuana card. We have to wonder if the owner knew Hopkins was blowing smoke at the bears earlier didn’t he also know that his “star” employee was smoking pot at work? We have to wonder of the employer knew but didn’t care which would make this claim justifiable?
Without going into all the opinions and arguments about whether or not smoking pot is a harmless practice we would like to hear what you think about this ruling. Should outright stupidity be covered by the compensation policy? Should the employer be held liable for an employee that is high at work? Was the decision just? How will this decision affect other employee’s in Montana? Will rates rise yet again?
The sad part is that we all have to suffer increased rates because of what appears to be ignorant decisions on the part of both the employee and the employer in this case.
Here is the link to the story in the Worker’s Comp Insider http://www.workerscompinsider.com/2010/06/blowing-smoke-i.html
Flathead Beacon http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/in_grizzly_mauling_judge_rules_pot_not_the_cause/17932/