February 11, 2011

Judge Okays Walmart’s Firing of Medical Marijuana User, Joseph Casias

Photo from mlive.com
A while ago Baked Life posted this story. "Wal-Mart Fires Medical Marijuana User". The case just came to a conclusion of sorts.

The Employee and medical marijuana user was won't be getting his job back. California is considering a bill that would protect employees from being fired for testing positive for marijuana if they have a prescription. If Walmart does this in California after the bill passes they be risking serious fines.

Michigan federal judge Robert Jonker today ruled that Walmart had the right to fire an employee who was using marijuana to treat the side effects of an inoperable brain tumor. The state’s medical marijuana laws protect licensed users from arrest but do not trump employers’ policies banning the use of dope, the judge held.

Here’s a report from the Grand Rapids Press. (And click here to read the opinion.) Finally, click here for a LB post from last August on the case; here for a story on the case from the WSJ’s Stephanie Simon.

The plaintiff, Joseph Casias, 30, who was the Associate of the Year at the Walmart in Battle Creek, Michigan, was fired by the retailer in 2008 after he tested positive for dope.

He claimed he only used marijuana after his work shift, the Press reports. Even so, state law does not require private employers to “accommodate the use of medical marijuana outside of the workplace,” Judge Jonker wrote.

Walmart’s attorneys contend that Michigan’s medical marijuana law wasn’t intended to regulate businesses, according to the Grand Rapids Press.

The American Civil Liberties Union, counsel to Casias, has said it will appeal. “Today’s ruling does not uphold the will of Michigan voters, who clearly wanted to protect medical marijuana and facilitate its use by very sick people like Joseph Casias,” the ACLU said in a statement. “A choice between adequate pain relief and gainful employment is an untenable one.”

Read More From: Blog.WSJ.com

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