Friday, June 11, 2010

State Worker's Compensation does indeed cover Stupidity

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

Flathead Beacon


  1. None of the stories say he was blowing smoke into the grizzlies face when feeding them.

    He was at work, feeding the grizzly bears, and they attacked him.

    He may have annoyed them in the past, but that does not relate to the issue at hand.

    Being "high" means nothing in this story. He could have easily been in prescribed painkillers and the same thing could have happened. But because it came out he smokes marijuana, it becomes a big deal.

    I think if he was on the job, and doing his job correctly, and he got mauled, then he should have claimed workman's comp.

    If his boss knew he was smoking pot but was not disciplining him, that's his problem.

  2. I agree. This story came out a little slanted, like the normally normal guy smokes a joint and sits down to have dinner with bears!!! It reminds me of the 50's when they had bizzare claims about smoking weed, like it will make black people rape white girls and other nonsense. And he didnt have a card...Off with his head!! lol But hey, thats just the way i saw it.

  3. Just another story of a person with no brains that got hurt through his own ignorance that will now get a settlement because he is stupid. The boss didn’t come off much better in the story either. If he knew the guy was tormenting the animal earlier why did he keep the employee? I have worked with people that used pot at work before and none of them were dumb enough to leave a pot pipe in plain view so I would guess the boss also knew about this too. Both of them are stupid

    The worst part is that everyone covered by workers comp in Montana will wind up paying for this ignorance.

    The pot really wasn't the issue as much as the stupidity of both the injured and the boss

  4. As everyone knows i am pro marijuana. That said, i am not pro stupid! If the guy was blowing smoke at the bear ( no matter what kind ) he was just reaping what he sewed. If he did not blow smoke at the bear than he deserves his comp. just like everyone else, weather under the effects of marijuana or not! Pot does not make you stupid! Axslinger is right sounds like something off of the movie "Reefer Maddness". I have to say though; Shame on him for smoking like that without a card.