Drug Law

How to Fire Medical Marijuana Patients

| by NORML
Senator Mark Leno in California has introduced a bill to protect patient’s right to work:

(HIGH TIMES) This week state senator Mark Leno has introduced a bill that he hopes will provide some measure of protection for medical marijuana users. The bill would prohibit employers from firing medical marijuana patients for consuming pot – as long as they’re not consuming pot while on the job.

Former Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill, also introduced by Leno, in 2007.

According to Leno, “The bill simply establishes a medical cannabis patient’s right to work … It astounds me that there would be any controversy around it.”

The bill would not protect employees with “safety sensitive jobs,” such as doctors, nurses, drivers and people who operate heavy machinery. Additionally, the bill would not permit patients to get high during work hours – should the bill pass, employers would retain the right to fire workers for being high on the job.

A medical marijuana employee's gift from his employer... courtesy of David Evans

These kinds of fixes to existing medical marijuana laws are important because there are companies blatantly discriminating against cannabis patients.  There also exists an organization dedicated to not only preserving this discrimination, but teaching you as an employer how to get away with this discrimination.  Because the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association has only our society’s best interests and not their sales of pee tests at heart, you can now attend a seminar in how to properly put a sick and disabled person out of work and on the streets!

(OH&S) The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association will begin its 2011 webinars on Feb. 9 with a presentation that will be of interest to safety managers and CEOs from Maine to Hawaii. Those two are among 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have medical marijuana laws in force. The Feb. 9 webinar by lawyer David G. Evans is titled “State Medical Marijuana Laws: The Potholes in the Road for Drug Free Workplace Programs.”

“Potholes”.  Get it?  The pot pun headline is just too irresistible for a prohibitionist.

So what will you learn in this live webcast that only costs you $49 to view?  According to the DATIA website:

Medical marijuana laws are becoming more common – currently 15 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws. While marijuana is still a federally banned drug per the Controlled Substances Act, these state laws are increasingly wreaking havoc for drug free workplace programs. What, if any, changes do employers need to make to their policies to address medical marijuana? What, if any, actions can employers take against employees with medical marijuana cards that test positive for marijuana? These and many more questions regarding medical marijuana and its effect on drug free workplace programs will be answered in the timely presentation.

Here’s the “havoc” being wreaked: When a medical marijuana patient has a job, it destroys any rationale for pee testing a healthy person for pot to get and keep a job. How do you justify firing Bobby Bonghitter for peeing dirty after a weekend party while not firing Petey Patient for peeing dirty for his glaucoma treatment?  As the Supreme Court told us, marijuana is fungible, so Bobby’s and Petey’s marijuana is the same marijuana.  Why is Bobby a danger and Petey is not?

The fact is neither Bobby nor Petey are a danger to the workplace.  Nobody can ever show us data showing cannabis consumers to be any workplace safety threat.  In Oregon when we challenged the business industry lobbyists, even they admitted they could not point to a single incident where safety risk, injury, or death was demonstrated concerning an employed medical marijuana patient based on their offsite, off-hours use of cannabis.

People like David Evans and DATIA, however, are more than willing to see all patients unjustly denied a right to work than to give up the cash cow of workplace pee tests for healthy people.  Because they are well aware of the fact that far more people use cannabis and it is detectable far longer than all the other illicit drugs combined.  Drug testing for all drugs other than cannabis would result in very few positive results, so few that it would be hard to justify its expense to any company.

In case the name David Evans sounds familiar, it’s because he is the director of the Drug Free America Foundation (motto: “Drug companies Free from competition with cannabis in America Foundation”).  You may remember him from these debates featured on CBS News between Evans and Judge James P. Gray.  Or from this appearance on CNN.

Click here to view the embedded video.