Employee Fired for Medical Marijuana Use

According to a recent news article from CBS, an employee was fired for using medical marijuana. The employee featured in the article said she started her dream job about year ago, and it only lasted a single day. The employee was hired for a sales and marketing company, and, as a condition of her employment, she was required to take a drug test. This doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, and employee wasn’t worried, because, while she regularly used medical cannabis, she had a valid prescription and was taking it upon orders from her doctor.

Thumbnail image for healthymarijuana.jpgIn fact, she said she told her employer before taking that test that it would come up positive for marijuana, but she explained she was medical marijuana patient taking the drug legally. The reason she was taking the drug was because she had a bad hip, and the pain was getting to the point she could barely stand it. This was in addition to her Crohn’s disease, which was also unbearable, and medical marijuana was the only thing that would give her any real relief. When she arrived home from her first day of work, her phone rang. Her new employer told her than her pre-employment drug test had come up positive for marijuana use and she was being terminated immediately.

At this point, she broke down and started begging the human resources manager on the phone to let her keep her job. She said she uses marijuana on her own time and never before work or during work. She asked if that was a good enough reason, but was told that it was not a good reason, because the company follows federal law, and it is a violation of federal law to use marijuana.

After losing her dream job and feeling discriminated against, she contacted an employment rights attorney. Her attorney argued that having Crohn’s disease was a recognized disability, and having a recognized disability means that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applied and protected her from workplace discrimination. Her attorney argued that, as part of this protection, she was allowed to use medical cannabis legally under state law to treat her disability. The most important part of former employee’s argument is that using medical marijuana did not in any way interfere with her ability to do her job.

This particular case occurred in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which, like California, has legalized medical marijuana, but must deal with the federal prohibition in terms of employment issues and medical marijuana. As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys can explain, employees can be terminated in California for testing positive for medical marijuana, and this is an issue that must be addressed in the near future to make sure people do not have to choose between treating their medical conditions and having jobs.

In this case, the District Attorney who is involved with violations of disability law thinks the employee may have a problem proving that, even with a disability, she is entitled to be able to use medical marijuana without her employer being able to take any action.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

Mass. Woman Fired For Using Medical Marijuana, September 18, 2015, CBS, by Jim Armstrong

More Blog Entries:

New Monthly Delivery Service for High Quality Medical Marijuana in California, July 20, 2015, Riverside Marijuana Criminal Defense Attorney Blog