Court Sides With Employers in Med Marijuana Case

Court Sides With Employers in Med Marijuana Case
Posted by CN Staff on May 04, 2006 at 11:27:41 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Salem, Ore. -- The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an employer didn't break state disability laws by firing a worker who used medical marijuana.The case involves Robert Washburn, a former worker at the Columbia Forest products plant at Klamath Falls who was fired after failing drug tests. Washburn had a state-issued card allowing him to use marijuana to ease leg spasms that disrupted his sleep.
He used the drug at home, but the company, which has a policy prohibiting workers from coming to the plant with controlled substances in their systems, fired him in 2001 after he failed several urine tests.Washburn sued the company, saying that his condition left him legally disabled, and that required the employer to make reasonable accommodations for him under the Oregonians with Disabilities Law.A circuit court decision said the state medical marijuana law doesn't require employers to "accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace."However, the Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed, saying the test results didn't establish that Washburn, a millwright, had used the drug at work.Moreover, the appeals court said, the lower court should decide whether, under the circumstances of the case, Washburn's employer should have had to allow his medical marijuana use.In Thursday's ruling, the Supreme Court said Washburn's impairment did not rise to the level of a disability under state law.The court said Washburn initially controlled his leg spasms with standard prescription medications, but his doctor later appproved Washburn to participate in Oregon's medical marijuana program.The court found that Washburn was not disabled under state law because his previous medication had succesfully treated his condition and that Washburn's employer was not obligated to make allowances for him showing up for work with marijuana in his system. Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: May 4, 2006Copyright: 2006 Associated Press Related Articles: What To Do When Marijuana Comes To Work Court Hears Case on MMJ in The Workplace Deal With Medical Marijuana Issue
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #9 posted by seedless on May 12, 2006 at 20:54:56 PT
 state that's easiest to get a medical MJ lic. 
I need to know the easiest stste to obtain a medical MJ lic to grow med Mj ?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by whig on May 12, 2006 at 20:10:02 PT
OT: Picture essay
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 12, 2006 at 19:21:59 PT
Related Article from The Associated Press
Lawmakers Approves Restrictions To Unemployment Benefits***Chris Blank, Associated PressMay 12, 2006JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - It would be easier to disqualify jobless workers from unemployment benefits under a bill that won final passage in the House on Friday.The House voted 90-65 in the last 30 minutes of the session to approve a bill that allows workers fired after testing positive for drugs or alcohol or for missing work to be barred from receiving jobless benefits. The Senate passed the measure earlier.Supporters of the bill say the changes are necessary to overhaul an unemployment compensation system that has run into financial troubles in recent years.The state needed to borrow from 2003 to 2005 just to keep the system afloat and still owes $238 million. The debt means the state could lose millions of dollars in federal tax credits for Missouri businesses if it defaults on the payments.Rep. Brad Roark said significant changes were needed to the system providing jobless benefits because past changes haven't worked.Roark, R-Springfield, said "workers who are truly fired through no fault of their own will continue to receive benefits."The bill has been a lightning rod for controversy and has been pared down at each step in the process. The Senate took out provisions that would have cut weekly unemployment benefits and make it harder for whistleblowers to sue when they are fired for their disclosures.The bill also would provide for barring jobless benefits for those who tested positive for any amount of drugs or alcohol or who were fired for missing or being late for work.Current law requires a worker to have more than 50 nanograms of marijuana - about one fifty-millionth of an ounce - per milliliter of blood or a blood alcohol content of greater than .08 percent to lose unemployment benefits.Rep. Tim Meadows said lawmakers were being hypocritical by allowing workers to lose benefits for drinking alcohol - a legal substance he said many lawmakers consume."You're not going to tell me as a member of this body that 10 percent of my fellow legislators on any given morning don't walk into this chamber with just a trace of alcohol - a legal substance - in their body," Meadows, D-Imperial, said.The provision on whistleblowers was removed in response to a ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals. The ruling allowed a former executive for St. Louis-based Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. to proceed with a lawsuit after being fired for questioning some of the company's accounting practices.The court ruled in 2005 that because the executive had a "reasonable" belief that Enterprise violated federal security laws, he qualified for whistleblower protections.Daniel Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, said he was disappointed the provision was removed but believed the bill was an important step forward.Among changes approved by the Senate was an amendment from Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Independence, that would fine employers $25,000 if they demote or fire workers called to active military duty since Sept. 11, 2001.---Unemployment bill is HB1456On the Net:Legislature: 2006 Associated Press
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 09, 2006 at 12:34:56 PT
Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Oregon Supreme Court OKs Firing of Medical Marijuana Patient***Tuesday, May 9, 2006Robert Washburn, an Oregon resident who used medical marijuana to control muscle spasms in his legs, sued his employer after he was fired for a positive drug test. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled in the case earlier this month, saying that the company was allowed to dismiss Washburn because he was not covered by Oregon's statute prohibiting workplace discrimination against disabled persons.Washburn used medical marijuana at night to treat muscle spasms that limited his ability to sleep. He began using medical marijuana after discovering that it was more effective in helping him sleep than the prescription drugs he previously had taken.After being dismissed from his job for testing positive for marijuana, Washburn sued his employer alleging disability-related discrimination. The Oregon Supreme Court found that since Washburn was able to remedy his sleep disruption through prescription medication, his impairment did not meet the criteria to qualify him as a “disabled person,” and therefore his employer did not have to accommodate his physical limitation through allowing the use of medical marijuana.In a concurring opinion, Judge Kistler took the analysis beyond the Oregon statute that prohibits disability-related discrimination in the workplace, concluding that federal law preempts state employment discrimination law when it comes to accommodating medical marijuana use: “The fact that the state may choose to exempt medical marijuana users from the reach of the state criminal law does not mean that the state can affirmatively require employers to accommodate what federal law specifically prohibits.” This Washburn decision is troubling for the future of marijuana law reform in the courts. First, Oregon’s high court states that there is a direct conflict between Oregon’s disability statute and federal law, with the latter superseding the former. Second, the court draws a very narrow definition of what constitutes a disability – a definition which could be adopted by other states, resulting in restriction of the protections of other medical marijuana laws. There appears to be at least one silver lining. The majority’s opinion is narrowly drafted and does not say that an employer cannot be required to accommodate off-duty use of medical marijuana when the employee does qualify as disabled under Oregon’s law. So there is likely room for more seriously disabled or ill persons who benefit from medical marijuana but not traditional prescription drug therapies to claim employment protections under the state disability law.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Storm Crow on May 05, 2006 at 10:36:37 PT
Marinol and drug testing
Ran across this a while back. If they are right, could be an easy way out for legal medical marijuana users who get tested.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by charmed quark on May 05, 2006 at 04:57:07 PT
Runderwo - spasms medications
There are quite a number of them. Some, like Skelflexon (sp?) , aren't suppose to be addictive or too impairing, although I find it puts me to sleep for 6 hours when I use it and I feel VERY impaired from it. Right now, I have a prescription for Valium to help my spasms. This drug stays in your system up to 100 hours!I certainly agree that cannabis probably is less impairing than many of the anti-spasmodics. Unfortunately, the Marinol I use has more side effects than the whole weed, making it difficult for me to use it in a strong enough dosage to control my spasms. I get a little relief from the low dosage I use, but for the same level of impairment, cannabis would totally eliminate it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by runderwo on May 04, 2006 at 20:57:10 PT
previous medicine
I am curious what that "previous medicine" was. Any bets as to how intoxicating it is?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by mayan on May 04, 2006 at 17:43:00 PT
What a Crock
The court found that Washburn was not disabled under state law because his previous medication had succesfully treated his condition and that Washburn's employer was not obligated to make allowances for him showing up for work with marijuana in his system.As long as you are supporting the pharmaceutical industry you are alright. Using a plant that grows out of the earth is bad,bad,bad.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 04, 2006 at 16:24:33 PT
The Fight Is On
And it's a race to the Finish to see who can sway the American public faster. The Pro Marijuana Guru's or the cruel anti-marijuana activists?
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment