U.S.". It is not right that someone be penalized for using ANY substance
while NOT in the workplace. (So long as it does not affect their work
habits, of course). A person should be judged at work by what they
accomplish at work. Not what they do at home on their own time. Its O.K.
to get lap-legged drunk the night before – and go to work with a hangover –
but you cant smoke or use marijuana??????? And go to work the next day
happy and ready to work?????????
—– Original Message —–
From: "Richard Lake" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 7:44 AM
Subject: [mmjlist] US CA: Workers Can Be Fired For Using Medical Pot Off
> URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n087/a03.html
> Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2008
> Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
> Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
> Contact: email@example.com
> Website: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/
> Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/248
> Author: Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
> Note: Times staff writer Eric Bailey contributed to this report.
> Referenced: The decision http://drugsense.org/url/NDVd3p20lJ
> Cited: Americans for Safe Access http://www.americansforsafeaccess.org/
> Cited: Marijuana Policy Project http://www.mpp.org/
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/RagingWire
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/testing.htm (Drug Testing)
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis – California)
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis – Medicinal)
> WORKERS CAN BE FIRED FOR USING MEDICAL POT OFF DUTY, COURT RULES
> SAN FRANCISCO — — The California Supreme Court weakened the effect
> of the state’s beleaguered medical marijuana law, ruling Thursday
> that employers may fire workers for using physician-recommended
> marijuana while off duty, even if it did not hurt their job performance.
> Supporters of medical marijuana immediately criticized the court’s
> 5-2 ruling, saying it undermined the 1996 law, which prohibits the
> state from criminalizing the medical use of the drug.
> Hundreds of medical marijuana users have complained that they have
> been fired, threatened with termination or not hired by California
> companies because of their drug use, according to one advocacy group.
> In siding with employers, the California Supreme Court said the
> Compassionate Use Act passed by voters and later amended by the
> Legislature imposed no requirements on employers.
> "The Compassionate Use Act does not eliminate marijuana’s potential
> for abuse or the employer’s legitimate interest in whether an
> employee uses the drug," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for
> the majority.
> Justice Joyce L. Kennard called the decision "conspicuously lacking
> in compassion."
> "The majority’s holding disrespects the will of California’s voters,"
> wrote Kennard, whose dissent was joined by Justice Carlos R. Moreno.
> The voters "surely never intended that persons who availed
> themselves" of the medical marijuana act "would thereby disqualify
> themselves from employment," Kennard said.
> Within hours of the court’s decision, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San
> Francisco) announced that he would introduce legislation to prevent
> employers from discriminating against medical marijuana users.
> "The people of California did not intend that patients be unemployed
> in order to use medical marijuana," he said.
> The court majority upheld the firing of Gary Ross, an Air Force
> veteran whose doctor recommended marijuana for chronic back pain
> stemming from an injury in the military and whose disability
> qualified him for government benefits.
> Ross, 45, was hired by RagingWire Telecommunications Inc. in 2001 as
> a systems engineer.
> Before taking a required drug test, Ross provided a copy of his
> physician’s recommendation for marijuana.
> The company fired him a week after he started the job because his
> test revealed that he had used marijuana.
> Ross sued the company on the grounds that it failed to accommodate
> his disability as required under a state anti-discrimination law.
> He contended that he had worked without any problems at other jobs in
> the same field since becoming a medical marijuana user.
> Lower courts, however, sided with the employer.
> "All I am asking is to be a productive member of society," Ross said
> in a written statement. "I was not fired for poor work performance
> but for an antiquated policy on medical marijuana."
> Stewart Katz, Ross’ lawyer, said he was disappointed but not
> surprised by the majority’s ruling "because of what the political
> realities are." He said the ruling could be overturned by a
> legislative amendment to the marijuana law.
> Ross, who continues to use medical marijuana, is now employed in another
> His lawyer refused to disclose his current occupation because his
> employer "is not terribly tolerant."
> Attorney Robert M. Pattison, who represented RagingWire
> Telecommunications, a Sacramento data center, said the ruling
> resolved questions that have troubled employers about the use of
> medical marijuana and did "not at all" eviscerate the marijuana law.
> "In fact, the court makes it clear that the point here is the medical
> marijuana law doesn’t address employment," Pattison said.
> California is one of 12 states with medical marijuana laws. At least
> one of them, Rhode Island, specifically protects workers from being
> fired for their medical use of the drug, said Bruce Mirken of the
> Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group.
> "The court is claiming that California voters intended to permit
> medical use of marijuana, but only if you’re willing to be unemployed
> and on welfare," Mirken said. "That is ridiculous on its face, as
> well as cruel."
> Joseph D. Elford, chief counsel of Americans for Safe Access, which
> argued the case on behalf of Ross, predicted the ruling would spark
> an increase in employer sanctions against medical marijuana users.
> His group already has reported hundreds of complaints of
> discrimination by employers.
> Medical marijuana patients may now be forced "to go underground and
> to forgo using marijuana before a drug test," he said.
> Traces of marijuana can linger in the body for weeks after its use,
> long after the patient has stopped using the drug, advocates said.
> Ross’ lawsuit might have prevailed if the state’s law gave marijuana
> the same legal status as prescription drugs, the court majority said.
> The law could not have done that because the drug remains illegal
> under federal law, the majority said.
> The two dissenting justices argued that the medical marijuana law
> protected patients from criminal prosecution and "sanction," which
> would include job termination. They said Ross did not seek to possess
> or use marijuana at work.
> They also contended that the majority would not have ruled against
> Ross if he had been taking other doctor-approved drugs that might
> affect work performance, such as Vicodin, Ritalin and Valium, as well
> as many over-the-counter cold remedies.
> Adam Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Drug
> Law Reform Project, said at least one part of the ruling should be
> welcomed by the medical marijuana movement.
> The decision made clear that California could protect medical
> marijuana users from job discrimination, despite federal law, if the
> Legislature or voters chose to amend the law.
> "Let us hope, then, that this ruling serves to silence those who
> insist that California must march in lock-step with the federal
> government’s ill-considered medical marijuana ban," Wolf said.
> Although there was no evidence in the case that medical marijuana
> impaired Ross from doing his job, many employers, workers and
> customers want "a drug-free workplace," said Deborah LaFetra, an
> attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a group that advocates
> limited government and argued on behalf of the employer in the case.
> "Drug-using employees are known to have impaired abilities, both
> mental and physical, that can alter their judgment and other
> necessary skills for their work," she said.
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