As significant an accomplishment as it is, the country’s widening experiment with marijuana legalization is also significantly limited in scope: Your right to possess and consume cannabis stops at the workplace.
Under broad state and federal “Drug-Free Workplace” laws—passed in the 1980s at the nadir of the “Just Say No!” hype—employers have the ability and the right to fire workers for off-the-clock drug use. (For any business on the receiving end of a federal contract, the ante is upped: They are required to screen for drugs.)
Several court decisions have upheld employers’ decisions to drug-test workers, and then terminate them if the tests reveal cannabis metabolites—the fat-soluble molecules that reveal past marijuana use, often days or weeks in the past.
For the most part, drug testing has been a handy excuse for employers to part ways with anyone they might not want to employ but have no legitimate reason to do so. That’s right—minorities.
Considering the impossibility of life in America or anywhere else (but especially everyone-for-himself America) without economic power, this is a significant roadblock, indeed.
But! It’s one that is also slowly eroding.
In July, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court ruled that a woman fired by her employer for using medical marijuana could sue for handicap discrimination. Cristina Barbuto was fired following her first day of work at Advantage Sales for using cannabis, which a doctor had recommended she use for her Crohn’s Disease. It remains to be seen if the decision will be appealed or if she’ll sue, but the decision should have a chilling effect on employers in that state acting similarly.
Comes now another, similar result out of New York State, where a taxi driver, fired for lawfully using medical marijuana, must be reinstated.
As the National Law Review reported, an anonymous driver, known only as W.R., had his taxi-driver license revoked by New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission—solely for testing positive for cannabis. In an administrative hearing, the TLC was ordered to return his license on the following basis:
Under the New York Compassionate Care Act, certified patients may not be subject to penalty or denied any right or privilege solely for the certified use of medical marijuana. Because the patient certification is analogous to a prescription, the certified use of marijuana could not constitute an illegal drug use that would serve as the basis to revoke a license.
Further, certified patients are deemed to have a disability under the New York State Human Rights Law. Because the New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, as does the New York City Human Rights Law, the driver had additional protections against revocation of his license.
There are a few nuances here that should be addressed.
This is only one state and is not necessarily a binding, precedent-forming decision for cannabis users in other states. It addresses a licensed contractor, not an employee—and most importantly, at a time when 65 million Americans live in states where recreational cannabis is legal, the decision pertains to medical marijuana only.
Still! The Law Review believes this is another milestone case, writing, “there is little doubt that this rationale would be followed in employment discrimination cases.”
This particular interpretation of the law still needs to be tested in other states, including California, where a landmark Supreme Court case upheld an employer’s right to fire legal cannabis users.
At the same time, with a few more milestones like these, we’re on a path towards real cannabis freedom—that is, the right to exercise a legal privilege without fear of losing your job.
FBI Data Shows Cannabis Arrests are on the Rise for Second Year in a Row
Activists in Oregon Fight for the Public Consumption of Cannabis on 2019 Ballot
Thai Police Give Researchers 220 Pounds Of Seized Marijuana
Police in Massachusetts Make Super Troopers Reference After Recovering Two Pounds of Weed
Malaysian Court Sentences Man to Death for Distributing Free Cannabis Oil
Canadian Dispensary Clerk Fights off Three Burglars With a Giant Bong
Hot Pot Products: 4 Must-Haves for Cannabis Cultivators
Study Suggests CBD May Have Antipsychotic Effect in High-Risk Individuals
Guides7 days ago
What Do The Colors of Marijuana Mean?
Celebrities6 days ago
Kristen Bell Opens Up About Weekly Cannabis Use and Exploring Other Drugs
Strains5 days ago
9 Colorful Weed Strains To Brighten Your Day
News5 days ago
First Clinical Trial of MDMA Treatment for Autistic Adults Sees Success
News6 days ago
New Report Says Concentrates are the Fast Growing Favorite Among Consumers
News5 days ago
Study Finds Magic Mushrooms Could Aid in Smoking Cessation
Dispensaries5 days ago
First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Set to Open in Brooklyn By End of Year
Guides6 days ago
Top 10 Strains to Pair with a Rose Blunt