Employer Can't Breach MMJ Patient's Rights

Employer Can't Breach MMJ Patient's Rights
Posted by CN Staff on December 02, 2007 at 05:10:37 PT
By Joseph Elford
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco, CA -- Gary Ross is a 45-year-old veteran living in Carmichael, near Sacramento, and until 2001, the mild-mannered father of two had been leading a productive life as a computer systems administrator, notwithstanding his chronic pain and spasms from a back injury sustained in 1983, while in the Air Force.But Ross' life took an unfortunate turn for the worse in September 2001 when his employer, RagingWire Telecommunications, fired him for using medical marijuana to treat his debilitating illness.
Now Ross finds himself in the whirlwind of a major employment case - one that is being closely followed by patients in California and across the United States. It's the latest illustration of the tension between federal and local authorities around medicinal marijuana. California residents legalized it more than a decade ago, and 11 other states have since followed suit - but that has not stopped the feds over the years from raiding pot clubs, even the homes of patients. Conservative groups contend that if workers are allowed to smoke medicinal pot, even off the job, employers could be at legal risk if something went wrong at the office, not to mention that firms could potentially lose valuable federal contracts and grants. But as chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access - the medical marijuana patients' rights group that argued Ross' case before the California Supreme Court on Nov. 6 - I can assure you that these contentions are legally meritless. Furthermore, state lawmakers never intended to deny basic job rights for medical marijuana patients.Many patients have experienced a plight similar to that of Gary Ross. Since it began recording instances of employment discrimination in 2005, the Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access has received hundreds of such reports from California in which employers have fired patients from their job, threatened them with termination, or denied them employment because of a positive test for marijuana.Until 1999, Ross used a regimen of pain medications, including Vicodin and muscle relaxants, to treat chronic pain and spasms in his lower back. But after years of no success with these medications, Ross' physician recommended marijuana to better treat his condition. This recommendation, written nearly three years after California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, made Ross a "qualified patient." Snipped:Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Joseph ElfordPublished: Sunday, December 2, 2007Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Americans For Safe Access Employees with MMJ Should Be Protected Supreme Court To Rule on MMJ & Employment Considers Whether MMJ Users Can Be Fired
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Comment #1 posted by Storm Crow on December 02, 2007 at 09:02:02 PT
That headline had my little heart going pitty-pat!
Rather misleading- for a moment there, I though that the judge had made the decision in record time! But no such luck. Just another much appreciated (for the content), but not very meaningful (in a legal sense)article. (Big Sigh!)My job is another of those, where I could be fired off work-site medical use. I could, all to easily, end up in the same type of mess as Mr. Ross! My multiple bosses are delighted with my performance, co-workers like me, all is well at work, but if it were known that I used the "wrong" herb to prevent my migraines- I would be fired! I'm watching this case closely!- me and thousands of other Californians!
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