Employers Wonder If They Have To Chill Out 
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Employers Wonder If They Have To Chill Out 
Posted by CN Staff on November 18, 2009 at 11:13:08 PT
By Tresa Baldas, The National Law Journal
Source: National Law Journal
USA -- Medical marijuana laws are having an odd effect on many employers: They're dazed and confused about their obligations to workers who use pot for health reasons.Employment lawyers say employers are unsure about how far they have to go to accommodate medical marijuana users. Many question whether they're even required to tolerate medical marijuana use, which is now legal in 13 states. Another six additional states, including New York, Illinois and Massachusetts, are considering medical marijuana bills.
Adding to employers' concerns is the U.S. Department of Justice's announcement last month that it would no longer prosecute medical marijuana users, which leaves such matters in the hands of state and local governments."It has really come onto everyone's radar screen," said Danielle Urban of the Denver office of Atlanta's Fisher & Phillips. "I'm getting calls from employers saying, 'I have an employee who tested positive for medical marijuana. What can I do? Can I fire that employee?'"Her answer? It depends.Urban said that under federal law, employers are not prohibited from taking adverse actions against someone who tests positive for marijuana. But Colorado permits medical marijuana, and another state law says it's illegal for an employer to fire someone for engaging in legal, off-duty behavior.And then there's the Americans With Disabilities Act to consider. Under the ADA, an employee fired for using pot for health reasons could file a discrimination lawsuit."It's a gray area to know what you can do," Urban said. "But I think it's still risky to just fire someone for using it."Richard Hurford of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., office of Ogletree Deakins, has spent the last several months fielding calls from employers inquiring about Michigan's new medical marijuana law, which went into effect in April. Since then, more than 5,000 Michiganders have registered as medical marijuana users.He said a key issue for employers is what to do with their zero-tolerance polices. "Those zero-tolerance policies, particularly if someone has been prescribed marijuana, will obviously need to be modified if doing so is deemed a reasonable accommodation by a court or a jury," Hurford said.To date, no one has challenged Michigan's law, Hurford said. But courts elsewhere, he noted, have favored employers in medical marijuana cases.For example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that even in states with medical marijuana laws, an employer can refuse to accept medical marijuana as a reasonable explanation for a positive drug test. Then in 2005, the high court ruled that the federal government may enforce the Controlled Substances Act's prohibition on medical marijuana against those who use the drug under state laws.In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers can fire workers who use medical marijuana under the state's Compassionate Use Actóeven if they are off duty and even if job performance is not affectedóbecause it's illegal under federal law."Nothing in the text or history of the Compassionate Use Act suggests the voters intended the measure to address the respective rights and duties of employers and employees," wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdeger. "Under California law, an employer may require pre-employment drug tests and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions."Source: National Law Journal (US)Author: Tresa Baldas, The National Law JournalPublished: November 19, 2009Copyright: 2009 NLP IP CompanyURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #12 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on November 19, 2009 at 00:56:11 PT
Throw it in his face!They threw it in his face.I looked thru through for a while before I posted, but somehow it threw me.
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Comment #11 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on November 19, 2009 at 00:47:14 PT
But there are worse things than losing a job.
Worse things than losing your freedom, even.People lose their lives because of drug tests!Positive THC results can and do lead to the denial of organ transplants for the critically ill.I lost a very dear friend a few months ago to liver failure. He wasn't a good transplant candidate for several reasons, and I hope a positive drug test for THC wasn't the deciding factor, but it was apparently important enough to the doctors to through it in his face, so who knows.
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Comment #10 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on November 19, 2009 at 00:31:57 PT
The only time I was ever fired from a job....
...was solely because of the supposed presence of THC metabolites in my urine taken for a random test.Funny thing, that company seemed to only do random tests when business was slow and there was an excess of employees.
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on November 18, 2009 at 16:49:20 PT
...paid the state extortion money for protection..
Discrimination could be proven if an employer fired an employee for using cannabis but doesn't fire an employee for using certain pills. If the fired person uses cannabis for health reasons and the person is registered (paid the state extortion money for protection), there are plenty of good lawers to help sort things out in court.Could become a profit gig and people should be manipulating to help bring this about... It will help stop the bad people.
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Comment #8 posted by christ on November 18, 2009 at 16:02:06 PT
I think the Delaware mmj law contains employment protections for employee-patients. Can't offer any details or evidence though. I wish other states did because when people or legislatures vote for mmj, i don't think they're saying that sick people must decide between their job and their medicine.
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Comment #7 posted by boballen131313 on November 18, 2009 at 14:23:26 PT:
Urine testing is becoming common for job applications in the Trades etc. Australia has also just allowed the police to start playing with Tasers. 
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Comment #6 posted by Mark702 on November 18, 2009 at 13:46:38 PT guys. Check it out, watch some videos, and share it with friends, family, and potential patients.
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Comment #5 posted by sam adams on November 18, 2009 at 12:21:42 PT
More info
It appears to be an issue in the UK also (Bush's lapdog), but otherwise I don't see any evidence anywhere else. This implies it may actually be illegal in the EU:
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Comment #4 posted by James Crosby on November 18, 2009 at 12:17:39 PT
Thanks Sam!
I didn't know that, thanks for the information about the urine testing. If you have a link for that, I'd love to read it. But, I do believe you anyhow.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on November 18, 2009 at 11:59:31 PT
Just a reminder that urine testing is entirely exclusive to the United States of America! It's unheard-of in other countries, except maybe for transportation drivers and pilots.Maybe the big corporations can just build prison camps to house the employees in the off hours? Then they can control every second of their lives. Just take a short cut to slavery, no messing around with all the lawyers and rules.
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Comment #2 posted by James Crosby on November 18, 2009 at 11:19:08 PT
When will it end? 
I hope this blatant discrimination of cannabis users comes to an end soon. Do you think they are getting calls about people wanting to fire those whom use prescribed pills? No, they don't. That makes this discrimination, because they are only looking to fire a personal using a specific type of medication. Which is ridiculous.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 18, 2009 at 11:17:50 PT
It's Time
Drug testing for cannabis has always been wrong since it isn't accurate as far as impairment goes.
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