Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

There is an interesting short story on today on the intersection of medical marijuana and employment. As the story notes, to date, 14 states have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana, which shield legal users from criminalization but don't protect them from them penalties enforced by their employers. As more people are being prescribed marijuana across the nation, they are wrestling with a caveat: they could be fired. This story raises interesting legal issues - namely, whether medical marijuana users have any protection under state and federal employment discrimination laws. The story does not discuss the potential application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the issue. One issue to consider is whether employees can reasonably argue that, under existing law, employers should be prohibited from enforcing otherwise neutral drug testing policies against medical marijuana users due to the users' underlying medical conditions. In other words, should medical marijuana users be exempted from such testing as a "reasonable accommodation" in the workplace? We will discuss this issue in further detail in the near future.