Employees Can Lose Jobs for Using Medical Marijuana

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Gary Ross, of Carmichael, sued telecom firm, RagingWire, for employment discrimination. He used doctor prescribed marijuana to treat chronic back pain. After testing positive for the drug he was fired. In the suit, he claimed the company did not accommodate his disability.

UC Davis Emeritus Law Professor, Martha West, says in the past the California Supreme Court has often favored employers. She says the court decision strictly interpreted the1996 state law on this issue. She says the law only prevents criminalization of medical marijuana.

West: “The court is saying, ‘Yeah it was just a small exception and we’re not going to expand the exception.”

West says the legislature could amend employment law to protect patients’ rights. And, democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno has announced plans to introduce such a bill.