CA: California Justices Put Limits on Medical Marijuana Law

—– Original Message —–
From: "Richard Lake" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:39 PM
Subject: [mmjlist] US CA: California Justices Put Limits on Medical
Marijuana Law

> Newshawk: Please Write a LTE
> Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2008
> Source: New York Times (NY)
> Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
> Contact:
> Website:
> Details:
> Author: Jesse McKinley
> Referenced: The decision
> Bookmark: (Marijuana – Medicinal)
> Bookmark: (Marijuana – California)
> Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
> SAN FRANCISCO — In the latest setback for advocates of medical marijuana
> in California, the State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers were
> within their rights to fire employees who fail drug tests.
> The ruling, a 5-to-2 decision that affirmed the findings of lower state
> courts, involved a former Air Force mechanic, Gary Ross, who injured his
> lower back in a fall off an airplane wing in 1983. In 1999, a doctor,
> acting under the state’s Compassionate Use Act, prescribed marijuana in an
> effort to relieve Mr. Ross’s pain.
> The act, approved by voters in 1996, legalized the use and sale of
> marijuana to those with a chronic illness or infirmity.
> Two years after he began using the drug, Mr. Ross was fired from a job as
> a systems administrator with a telecommunications company after failing a
> drug test.
> Mr. Ross filed suit, contending that his dismissal violated state laws
> barring wrongful termination and discrimination based on disability.
> But the state’s highest court firmly rejected that argument on Thursday,
> saying that the act deals solely with criminal prosecution, not terms of
> employment.
> "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 M. Werdegar wrote.
> The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative, free-enterprise group,
> praised the decision as a victory for "safe, drug-free workplaces."
> "You don’t want employers to be trying to figure who is impaired and who
> is not," said Deborah J. La Fetra, a lawyer for the group.
> "They need to have a bright-line, no-drugs-in-the-workplace rule."
> Advocates of medical marijuana said Thursday that they hoped the
> Legislature would provide medical marijuana users some workplace
> protections, and Assemblyman Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco,
> said he planned to take up the cause.
> Mr. Ross, now 46 and a host at outdoor camps in the Sacramento area, said
> he never intended to use marijuana on the job, only to relieve pain and
> help him sleep. But he said he was not surprised at the judges’ ruling.
> "Their mind is stuck in 1967," he said in a telephone interview. "They
> just say, ‘My mind was made up in the 1960s, and that’s the way it’s going
> to stay.’"
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