Medical Marijuana gets a Win
Christina Barbuto was legally prescribed medical marijuana for her medical condition. Ms. Barbuto suffers from Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal condition, which ruined her appetite and made it hard to maintain a healthy body weight. Taking her prescribed medical marijuana helped Mr. Barbuto’s appetite and to live a better life with her medical condition. As a result of taking her medication she was terminated from her job after only being employed for one day. She was terminated for failing a drug test given to her by the company, as many have been. Upon her termination, she was informed by the company that the company follows federal laws related to marijuana and not Massachusetts’s state law.
While medical marijuana has become legal
in a majority of states and has even become legal for recreational use in several states, marijuana still remains illegal under federal law. The fact that the federal government still views use and possession of marijuana as illegal has continually hampered states from legalizing it. The federal government’s view of marijuana impacts a people in a variety of ways. It ranges from prohibiting people conducting businesses that involve marijuana from filing for bankruptcy protections to allowing employers to discriminate against employees who use marijuana. This causes a high demand for marijuana detox drinks.
Medical Marijuana and Law Suits
After her termination Ms. Barbuto sued her employer for discrimination. The employer of course argued, among other things, that they could prohibit their employees from using marijuana because it is illegal under federal law. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts held that Ms. Barbuto could sue her former employer for discrimination. The Court wrote that if a doctor decides that medical marijuana is the most effective treatment for an employee’s condition that an exception to their employer’s drug policy is a facially reasonable accommodation. The Court also noted that marijuana’s illegality under federal law does not automatically make it an unreasonable accommodation. This however was not the case in a similar Colorado hearing where a man was fired for testing positive for marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Victory
This was a major victory for state’s rights and for people’s rights to use medical marijuana. It sent a clear message that marijuana should be considered real medicine when prescribed by a doctor and treated like any other kind of prescription medication. It also showed that states should not be cowed by federal laws towards marijuana. However, while this ruling was a positive step forward it does not mean that people have free license to use marijuana without consequence in Massachusetts despite its use being legal in that state for both medical and recreational purposes. An employee with a prescription for marijuana cannot use it before or during work. Also, its use has to be part of an approved treatment plan. Also, it is still possible for an employee to be terminated for legal recreational use of marijuana.
This ruling is a step in the right direction, but there is still work to do! If you support allowing people to use medical marijuana let your government know. Tell your congressman. Sign petitions to legalize it and of course vote for candidates who support legalizing marijuana. We can all help people who could use marijuana to live healthy lives.
However, in the meantime and in between time, be sure to know exactly how to pass a drug test for marijuana!