Employers Now Legally Able to Fire Medical Marijuana Users

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REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Stipulations surrounding the use of medicinal marijuana are as controversial as they are unclear. But a Washington State Supreme Court decision on Thursday did legitimize the right of employers to excuse those employees found to be users of marijuana, medical or otherwise. 

The Washington state court concluded that MUMA (the Medical Use of Marijuana Act), though it protects prescribed users from threat of criminal prosecution, bears no authority over employment disputes.  What that means: Employers are legally able to dismiss a worker if they are found to have failed drug tests even if they are medicinal users — and even if that use has had no impact on their performance at work.

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The case began back in 2006, when a woman (who has sued using a pseudonym, as marijuana is currently illegal under federal law) was fired from her job at a Bremerton customer service firm for failing a drug test.  The woman used medicinal marijuana for debilitating migraines.

This case exposes several inconsistencies in legislation regarding the rights of medical marijuana users.  As Michael Subit, the plaintiff attorney in this case, writes, he would be “flabbergasted if qualified patients could lose their jobs simply for using medical marijuana at home in accordance with the act.” (via Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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