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Many states have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; others have approved its recreational use. But what happens when certain laws come into conflict with others?

A Colorado woman is learning the answer to that question in a most unusual and, some might say, cruel way. Her husband was killed on the job, and now she and her children may not receive his death benefits.

Adam Lee was 40-years old last December when the ski lift on which he was working collapsed and fell on him. Lee died at the scene. Toxicology reports performed on his body showed high levels of prescription cannabis in his system.

Here is where the conundrum lies: his wife Erika has been told that she and their three children will now receive only 50-percent of Adam’s benefits because of the marijuana in his system.

Despite the fact that Lee’s marijuana was apparently legal and from a prescription, and he was apparently not high on the job, his widow is now left without half of his death benefits. Colorado allows state workers’ compensation to cut benefits by half if tests return positive for cannabis or any other controlled substance.

“I am frustrated with the system that is saying because he smoked a legal substance, we are going to take away your benefits from you and your kids,” Erika says. She works as a teacher and has a part time job at a Target, but says the family depended on her late husband’s salary to make ends meet.

Erika Lee is appealing this decision. A hearing has been scheduled before an administrative law judge for later this summer.

So, what do you think about this situation? Have certain laws not caught up with others?

If you have legal questions please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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