Oregon Court of Appeals Protects Medical Marijuana

Oregon Court of Appeals Protects Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on June 11, 2008 at 17:41:10 PT
By William McCall, The Associated Press
Source: Seattle Times
Portland -- The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that an employer must make a reasonable accommodation for medical marijuana use for a disability. In an opinion issued Wednesday, the appeals court upheld a ruling by the state Bureau of Labor and Industries.The agency said that Emerald Steel Fabricators in Eugene violated state laws barring discrimination against the disabled by discharging an employee who used medical marijuana.
A key issue was the fact the employee never used marijuana in the workplace  an issue the Oregon Supreme Court avoided in 2006 when it ruled against a registered medical marijuana user fired from his job at a Columbia Forest Products plant after urine tests detected traces of the drug.Employers do not have to let patients smoke medical marijuana in the workplace. But the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act approved by voters in 1998 was unclear about whether employers must accommodate workers who smoke medical marijuana off the job.In the opinion by Judge Timothy Sercombe, the Oregon Court of Appeals went back over the 2006 Oregon Supreme Court ruling to emphasize the Emerald Steel employee never used the marijuana at work  just like the worker in the Columbia Forest case.The appeals court also noted the Oregon Supreme Court did not address some of the defenses raised in the earlier case, including the argument an employee could be affected by medical marijuana use while on duty or in "safety-sensitive positions."It also rejected an attempt by Emerald Steel to raise new issues on appeal, including the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law despite state law allowing its use for medical purposes."Accordingly, we will not consider those issues for the first time on review," Sercombe wrote.Medical marijuana has been opposed by the construction industry, which wants laws to prohibit medical marijuana users from potentially hazardous jobs such as operating heavy machinery.Associated General Contractors has lobbied for laws defining safety-sensitive jobs, including driving large trucks, handling explosives, working at construction sites and other jobs listed as hazardous under state work safety laws.Supporters of restrictions on medical marijuana use, including state Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, have said they are trying to ensure public safety. But medical marijuana activist John Sajo says that during legislative hearings last year, nobody was able to identify a single case where a medical marijuana patient had caused a workplace accident or problem.He also said the vast majority of medical marijuana patients are too ill to work.Eleven other states  Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state  have medical marijuana laws.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  William McCall, The Associated PressPublished:  Wednesday, June 11, 2008 Copyright: 2008 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on June 12, 2008 at 09:39:24 PT
Thank you, Oregon!
As a medical cannabis user, I am thrilled to see Oregon protect worker's rights! (I may move there, yet.) I only hope California will see things the same way- soon! I need cannabis to stay migraine free so I can work and I love my job! If I were drug tested I would absolutely fail and I would absolutely lose my job- even though I am considered to be one of the best workers. It would be so nice to be able to be pain free without fear!
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on June 12, 2008 at 08:15:14 PT:
Clutching at straws!
They will be trying everything to sway public opinion and change the existing pot friendly laws before Obama takes office. They are desperate and their desperation is showing.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on June 12, 2008 at 05:04:20 PT
Study: Marijuana potency increases in 2007 By HOPE YEN 
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Marijuana potency increased last year to the highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released Thursday by the White House.The latest analysis from the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project tracked the average amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in samples seized by law enforcement agencies from 1975 through 2007. It found that the average amount of THC reached 9.6 percent in 2007, compared with 8.75 percent the previous year.The 9.6 percent level represents more than a doubling of marijuana potency since 1983, when it averaged just under 4 percent."Today's report makes it more important than ever that we get past outdated, anachronistic views of marijuana," said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He cited baby boomer parents who might have misguided notions that the drug contains the weaker potency levels of the 1970s.Cont.
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