Painkillers Are OK At Work - But Not Marijuana?

Painkillers Are OK At Work - But Not Marijuana?
Posted by CN Staff on June 14, 2007 at 21:09:54 PT
By Michelle Gardella
Source: Hartford Courant
Connecticut -- I think I will send a nice joint to the producers of the television show "House" and invite them to have their main character drop the pills and turn to using medicinal marijuana instead. I wonder what the reaction of the public would be to see their award-winning doctor toking from a bong five to 10 times an episode?Recently, I watched an episode of "House," a popular show broadcast on Fox. Throughout the show, the main character, Dr. House, popped pain pill after pain pill.
During a commercial break I turned to my husband and asked, "Is that legal? Can you take prescription strength pain medication while on the job?" He shrugged. Turns out, you can as long as you have a valid prescription.This sounded reasonable enough, until I glanced at a USA Today news headline this morning: "Employers Grapple with Medical Marijuana Use." Wait? How does that make sense? Pills are OK but pot is not?It's the same discussion that is going on at the Capitol in Hartford where the General Assembly just passed a bill that would let seriously ill people use marijuana to ease the pain of particular diseases or to moderate the side effects of medical treatments. All that is needed is the signature of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who has been coy about whether she will sign the bill. The governor should stop waffling and sign the bill - it could bring relief to hundreds of state residents. According to the article I read, more than 30,000 Americans use medical marijuana for pain and nausea relief. With the growing number of states allowing the use of this natural herb for medicinal purposes, that number is expected to grow and grow. Which raises concern in many companies as mentioned in the USA Today article. "Few disputes about medical marijuana's impact on the workplace have made it to court, but many employers say they would have concerns if a worker needed marijuana treatments."I couldn't believe what I was reading, it seemed so hypocritical, and so I went where every liberal goes for reliable news: Fox. And there it was on their Internet home page: a two-minute video report on the issue. I heard it with my own ears, and saw it with my own eyes: company owners saying that they will fire employees using medicinal marijuana. They are instituting drug testing, which won't tell where the employee has used marijuana, like at home when in pain for example, but only if they have it in their system.Why is the focus always on pot? What the heck is everyone so afraid of? The side effects? Dizziness, lightheadedness, trouble with coordination, feelings of euphoria, difficulty speaking and concentrating, extreme sleepiness. Oh wait; those are the side effects for pain pills. So, clearly it isn't the side effects of marijuana that have employers scared, because if it was, then they would also want to eradicate the use of any pain medication; period. Could it be the fear of addiction? The federal Drug Enforcement Administration defines marijuana as a, "Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse."But wait, the Drug Enforcement Administration also says, "The non-medical use of prescription drugs has become an increasingly widespread and serious problem in the United States. A new generation of high dose, extended release, opioid pain medications have taken the existing threat to a new level. The abuse and diversion statistics are alarming, and the increased popularity of these prescription drugs creates even greater challenges for the medical and law enforcement communities. While these new drugs have proved effective in the treatment of chronic pain, they also offer equally increased risks of abuse and diversion." Wow, that sounds serious.What is the difference between a prescription for Vicodin and a prescription for marijuana in the eyes of the employer? Seriously, I want to know. And why, with all the data screaming so loudly otherwise, is pot thrown in a class of evil all on its own? It's a beautiful plant that grows from the earth just like dandelions and oak trees, and yet it has the power to evoke widespread panic in the government and the public.And yet, pharmaceutical companies continue to chase record high (pun intended) profits and economic growth while everyone watches without a flinch. Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Author: Michelle GardellaPublished: June 15, 2007 Copyright: 2007 The Hartford CourantContact: letters courant.comWebsite: Articles:Compassion and Racial Justice, or Criminalization? Williams Makes the Case for Medical Pot Bill Wins Final Approval in Legislature
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Comment #5 posted by user123 on June 17, 2007 at 09:44:16 PT:
While I too would like to see the day, it's kinda hard to hunt people down if you don't hate them. Catch-22
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 15, 2007 at 10:21:45 PT
Storm Crow
Thank you for sharing your story. Drug testing is so wrong. It only benefits insurance companies and lawyers.
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on June 15, 2007 at 10:00:14 PT
Thank You, Michelle!
I will be facing this problem in the next few weeks. I work as an aide at a school and am very well thought of. I am efficient, cheerful, courteous, and my teachers love my work. I am frequently greeted by hugs from the kids. I'm good at what I do. I also was almost murdered at age 3 by a hammer-swinging playmate. I still have dents in my skull from the attack. As a result, I have near constant headaches and migraines. At age 20 something, I found cannabis brought my pain down to almost nothing (the scars still twinge now and then). Cannabis turned my life to normal. No wave after wave of pain, no migraines- I am normal- as long as I use cannabis! Now I am facing drug testing, because my job title is changing. I refuse to go back to living in almost constant pain, so I am forced to be deceptive and buy some synthetic urine. This really irks me- I live very honestly. My grandfather once said "If the truth won't do, then something is wrong." In this case, it is the law that is wrong! I am a "California legal" user, but to keep my job, I have to lie! I could be working with the kids, totally wasted on opiates, likely get addicted, possibly OD, but THAT'S alright! I can drink myself silly after work, come in hungover, but THAT'S alright. I can also choose to live in pain that interferes with my daily life (and my job efficiency), and THAT'S alright too! However, if I use an effective, nonlethal, nonaddictive herb AFTER work, I get fired! Total insanity!Sorry about ranting like that, but this really bugs me!
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on June 15, 2007 at 05:54:59 PT
Mandatory Minimums for Hate
One day, we will outlaw hate. When we do, we will calmly hunt down the haters in Congress, Law Enforcement, Administrative and Judicial Branches, and lock them away to protect the public. The meek SHALL inherit the earth.We are currently taking authority away from law enforcement and the courts, they have abused their powers and must be restricted like criminals. Love thy neighbor or perish.
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Comment #1 posted by DjLoTi on June 15, 2007 at 00:29:17 PT
The person who wrote this article. 
Is my new hero. 
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