Medicinal-Pot Users Stuck

Medicinal-Pot Users Stuck
Posted by CN Staff on January 25, 2008 at 04:40:35 PT
Source: Ventura County Star 
California -- It has been 12 years since Californians passed Proposition 215, the law allowing medicinal-marijuana use in California. The Star supported the proposition allowing people who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician to be exempt from prosecution for it. In light of the proposition, it makes no sense for the California Supreme Court to rule, as it did Thursday, on a 5-2 vote, that employers can fire workers who used marijuana recommended by a physician.
The decision stems from the case of Gary Ross who had a medical marijuana card, authorizing him to legally use marijuana for chronic pain from a back injury he sustained while in the Air Force. He was fired from his job after flunking a company-ordered drug test.The Sacramento telecommunications company, RagingWire Inc., argued it could fire Mr. Ross because marijuana use  even if recommended by a physician  is illegal under federal law. Mr. Ross argued that employees who use legally recommended marijuana are due the same protections as those prescribed conventional painkillers.His case exemplifies the Catch-22 Californians who use medically recommended marijuana continue to face. And it's not just Californians, as at least 11 other states have medicinal-marijuana laws.This state-federal schizophrenia unfairly penalizes people who have sought medical treatment for serious ailments and whose doctors have recommended they use marijuana.Since Proposition 215 was passed in 1996, The Star has supported legislation to end this Catch-22. Even the U.S. Supreme Court, when it voted 6-3 in 2005 that state medical marijuana laws do not protect people from federal prosecution stated in the majority opinion that the issue belongs before Congress. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the court's decision was based on the technical interstate commerce aspect of the case and did not consider the medical-necessity defense.We hope this latest case is the impetus for the state Legislature to pass a law to protect employees who use medical marijuana to be treated the same as any employee who is prescribed painkillers. And we hope it spurs Congress to settle this issue once and for all at the federal level.The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug  meaning it has no medicinal value and cannot be prescribed  stems from President Nixon's declaration of a national war on drugs 38 years ago.Since then, studies, including one from the Institute of Medicine at the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, have demonstrated marijuana can ease wasting in people with AIDS (which had not even been named in 1970) and has practical applications for patients undergoing chemotherapy or who have advanced cancer or muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.In 2008, marijuana should be classified a Schedule II drug, which doctors are allowed to prescribe.In the meantime, employers should not discriminate against legitimately ill people who abide by state medicinal-marijuana laws.Note: Time for Legislature to act.Source: Ventura County Star (CA)Published: Friday, January 25, 2008 Copyright: 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co.Contact: letters insidevc.comWebsite: http://www.venturacountystar.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Americans For Safe Access Justices Put Limits on Medical Marijuana Law Gives Bosses Leeway To Fire Pot User Legitimizes Firings for Use of Marijuana
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