By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s not just the thought patterns of users of marijuana but the thought patterns of the lawmakers on the subject of marijuana that are hazy.
Only 2 states – Arizona and Delaware – of the 22 states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana, have a law that prevents employers from firing people because they legally use it. Or is there?
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against a Rhode Island employer claiming that its blanket policy refusing to hire users of medical marijuana violates Rhode Island state law which makes it illegal for a company to bar people from employment just because they have a medical marijuana prescription card, although confusingly it doesn’t prevent employers from firing or failing to hire workers who test positive for the drug.
In other words, you can get it, you just can’t use it.
Previous lawsuits, such as one brought against Wal-Mart in 2009 by a man receiving marijuana in conjunction with his treatment for cancer and a 2013 suit brought by a paraplegic who was prescribed marijuana to ease muscle spasms have all ended in defeat for the employees.
The result may be different in court this time based on Rhode Island’s contradictory laws, but in any event, one hopes that the lawmakers will think through a little more carefully whether, if they’re going to allow people to use it, if they’re also going to protect people’s jobs who do so.