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Post: Millions of Americans have used medical marijuana. Is it covered by their FSAs?

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Millions of Americans have used medical marijuana. Is it covered by their FSAs?
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Fortune· Getty Images Good morning!

Tomorrow marks an unofficial holiday celebrated by marijuana users across the U.S.: April 20, more commonly known as 4/20 .

Once a fringe substance, weed is now mainstream , and millions of Americans use it to treat a host of medical ailments including chronic pain and nausea . Currently, 24 U.S. states have legalized overall consumption of weed, and another 14 states allow medicinal use, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center. Around 2.5% of U.S. adults, or 8.3 million people, said they have used marijuana under their physician’s authorization, according to 2020 research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM).

But for those who partake legally and medicinally, one question remains: do flexible spending accounts, or FSAs, cover cannabis?

FSAs are an arrangement in which employees can set aside up to $3,200 of their pre-tax income annually to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs. That money can be used for healthcare expenses like deductibles, copayments, and qualifiable prescription drugs. What exactly qualifies as a medical expense isn’t always clear, but one thing’s for sure: Marijuana does not.

“The issue with medical marijuana is it’s still considered a schedule one drug ,” Paul Fronstin, director of health benefits research at Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a nonprofit organization, tells Fortune. That puts it in the same federal category as LSD and ecstasy. “So since it’s technically not a legal drug under federal law, you can’t use an FSA to get reimbursed for medical marijuana.”

Even if […]

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