The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that a worker’s employer and its insurer must pay for medical marijuana for treating the employee’s chronic pain from a job-related back injury.

The court on Monday upheld a decision by a workers’ compensation judge that medical marijuana was “reasonable and necessary medical care” from a health care provider under terms of workers’ compensation law.

The worker had a 99 percent permanent partial disability.

An automotive repair shop and its insurer appealed after being ordered to reimburse the worker for medical marijuana expenses.

The court rejected the employer’s argument it would be required to violate federal law by paying for the marijuana.

New Mexico started its medical marijuana program began in 2007, although pot remains illegal under federal law.

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