Pot Bills Consider Job Rights

Pot Bills Consider Job Rights
Posted by CN Staff on March 19, 2009 at 05:01:39 PT
By David Steves, The Register-Guard
Source: Register-Guard
Salem, OR -- Businesses and medical marijuana patients faced off Wednesday over competing bills aimed at rebalancing each group’s workplace rights. Employers pushed legislation during a hearing that would expand their legal rights to prohibit the use of medical marijuana in the workplace.Patients, who oppose those bills, urged the House Business and Labor Committee to instead pass legislation prohibiting on-the-job discrimination based on a worker’s status as a medical marijuana user. It prevents employers from acting against workers who are medical marijuana cardholders for smoking pot off the work site during nonwork hours.
The committee also took up a bill introduced last week that puts state government in charge of growing and distributing medical marijuana for patients, who would pay a $98-per-ounce tax on their weed to cover the state-run pot farm’s expenses.Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 1998, allows Oregon residents to register with the state as medical marijuana patients, based on their doctors’ finding that pot may mitigate their symptoms or debilitating conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and HIV/AIDS to severe pain, severe nausea and persistent muscle spasms.Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, chairs the committee considering the workplace regulation bills on medical marijuana. Schaufler also is sponsoring a bill that would allow employers to prohibit medical marijuana cardholders from possessing, consuming or being impaired by pot while on the job.Shaufler said employers should be able to prohibit medical marijuana for all workers, not just those, such as crane operators or school bus drivers, who can put the safety of others at risk.“Do you want your claims adjuster to have marijuana in his system?” Schaufler asked rhetorically.Cary Kuvaas, a vice president with FlexForce Staffing in Springfield, told lawmakers in written testimony that by requiring employers to accommodate medical marijuana cardholders, the state puts them at risk of being sued for injuries caused by impaired workers.“I believe no Oregon employer should be required to accommodate medical marijuana,” she said.Anthony Johnson from Voter Power, a nonprofit medical marijuana advocacy group, said workplace accidents and injuries have decreased since voters passed the state medical marijuana law 11 years ago.Given that, he said, “the facts don’t support the notion that such a law is needed” to grant employers the power to fire or not hire people because they are medical marijuana patients.A proposal that the state grow pot for medical marijuana users and tax it was heard in committee as a courtesy to its sponsor, according to a spokesman for the House speaker’s office, who said it wasn’t expected to become law.Opponents said they don’t want the responsibility of cultivating pot shift from medical marijuana patients and designated growers, with the state Department of Human Services in charge of growing and distributing their medicine.“What you are proposing is to discriminate against people who cannot afford to pay for their medicine,” said Madeline Martinez, the Oregon executive director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Please don’t take away our right to grow our own medicine.”Note: Employers want to ban the use of medical marijuana in the workplace, while patients want to prohibit discrimination.Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)Author:  David Steves, The Register-GuardPublished: Thursday, March 19, 2009, Page B3Copyright: 2009 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles:Pot Plan a Little Too Far Out Would Give State Control of Pot Grown
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Comment #5 posted by Vincent on March 21, 2009 at 22:30:13 PT:
I made a small mistake on my last posting. When I said that Rep. Schahffer sides with labor, I meant to write that he sides with Management. I wish that he sided with LABOR.
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Comment #4 posted by Vincent on March 21, 2009 at 22:24:12 PT:
Management vs Labor (as always)
This is the ultimate struggle: It's all about who's gonna be having the power in our society. Management against Labor. Rich against Poor. And who always wins this fight?
You know. Especially because our side is not unified. For example, Rep. Mike Shaufler of "Happy Valley", sides with labor. A Democrat, no less! Doesn't sound so 'Happy' to me. If we can't depend on the Democrats to stand up for worker's rights, then how can we count on them to support decriminalization?  
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 20, 2009 at 17:20:49 PT
Oregon: Medical Marijuana Debate 
March 18, 2009URL:§ion=Features
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on March 19, 2009 at 12:29:46 PT
this article is a testament to the fact that we live in a hyper-regulated government/corporate police state.It's barely possible to even take simple herbal medicine without creating a whirlwind of regulatory and insurance conflicts.The more I learn about reform and law-making the more frightening it becomes. Most people have no idea how bad the situation has become.The idea that the state should take over medical cannabis is absurd. The government and corporate elite won't stop until Big Pharma and some sleazy government people control every aspect of making, selling, and dosing your medication.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 19, 2009 at 11:26:15 PT
Related Article From The Statesman Journal
16 Bills Aim To Reform Medical Marijuana ProgramMarch 19, 2009URL:
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