Job security debated for medicinal pot users
May 27, 2008
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been a hot topic in recent years. Should doctors be allowed to prescribe marijuana for those with chronic pain? Is this an issue for the federal government to address or should this decision be left up to the states? Many states have already adopted bills either allowing for the use of medical marijuana or little to no criminal penalties resulting from the use of the drug with a valid prescription. In April, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 5842 “The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act” that will “provide for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States.” But what you don’t see much of in the news is how this will affect employers should this bill pass and more states adopt a medical marijuana law. This article showcases the great debate between employers and employees in the state of California where in 1996, the use of medical marijuana was legalized. I can certainly see both sides to this issue. This is definitely an issue to keep an eye on in the coming months and years with respect to the employer/employee relationship.
By Jim Sanders, Sacramento Bee
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For west
Californians gave Gary Ross the legal right to smoke medicinal marijuana at home.
But that didn’t keep the Carmichael resident from being fired for doing so.
Ross is at the epicenter of a fight pitting the rights of more than 250,000 medicinal marijuana users against those of business owners.
“It’s insane that someone has to fight so hard to use a medication that a doctor says is best for your treatment,” said Ross, 46.
The issue is not whether workers can be stoned on the job — they can’t — but whether even trace amounts of doctor-approved pot are grounds for firing.
The California Supreme Court ruled against Ross in January, sparking recent legislation to protect the jobs of medicinal users. The court found that California’s medicinal marijuana initiative, passed in 1996, did not address employment.
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