Medical Marijuana Laws Must Yield to Employer Drug Use Policy
Marijuana for medical purposes can legally be prescribed in several states according to state laws however your employer drug policy will determine if you may have your job or not regardless of your prescription. A Washington state supreme court upheld the decision of a Colorado based company to dismiss an employee for failing her drug test, even though she had a valid prescription for marijuana usage. The employee worked for Tele Tech Customer Care, a customer service company subcontracted by Sprint at the time. The vote was 8 to 1, not even a close call.
The Court declared that the state medical marijuana law does not require employers to allow for medical marijuana usage outside of work. It further clarified that it by no means requires an allowance for usage at work. The court affirmed that the state’s Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for employee discrimination cases, is not allowed to handle Medical Marijuana based cases, due to it still being illegal at a Federal level.
The single supporting vote was placed by Justice Tom Chambers, who argued that citizens had intended for protections for prescription bearing patients when the medical marijuana law was voted into place in 1998. He is quoted by the Seattle Times as having stated the majority vote “jeopardized the clear policy” of the law. This is not the first employee who has taken this matter to court. In February of 2008 an employee of Walmart took the decision of termination to court in Michigan as well. That employee also lost and is intending to appeal.
The ruling by Washington State further confuses citizens as to what is legal and what is not. DOJ memorandums, attorney general letters, governor statements, police policy changes, and department of health involvement are spelling out a large problem in Washington and across the nation. It would seem a lot of finances are being wrapped up in arresting and prosecuting people who are attempting to follow the law. Clarification seems necessary on all levels.
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