High Court Hears Case on MMJ in The Workplace

High Court Hears Case on MMJ in The Workplace
Posted by CN Staff on November 08, 2005 at 06:27:54 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Salem, Ore. -- An attorney for Columbia Forest Products Inc. argued before the Oregon Supreme Court that voters who approved the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act never intended to force companies to let employees come to work with the drug in their systems.But Philip Lebenbaum, an attorney representing a mill worker who was fired after failing several drug tests, told the justices Monday that his client's medical condition left him legally disabled, requiring his employer to make reasonable accommodations for him in the workplace under the Oregonians with Disabilities Law.
The case pits an employer's right to ensure a safe workplace against a worker's right in Oregon to use marijuana at home to treat pain. It started in 2001, when Robert Washburn was fired from the company's mill in Klamath Falls after several failed urine tests. Washburn had a state-issued card allowing him to use marijuana to ease neck and muscle pain that disrupted his sleep. Washburn, who said he used the drug at home, sued the company, claiming it should have made an allowance for his disability.A circuit court dismissed the lawsuit, citing a provision in the state medical marijuana law that employers don't have to "accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace."But the state Court of Appeals disagreed, setting the stage for a high-court review. A key question is whether "in the workplace" includes employees using it at home and having it in their systems when they arrive at work.Voters approved physician-approved medical marijuana use in 1998. Since then, more than 11,000 residents have received state-issued medical marijuana registry cards.The company argued that state law does not provide workers a blanket exemption allowing them to come to work under the influence.Portland truckmaker Freightliner, Boise-based grocer WinCo Foods Inc. and Portland roofing material manufacturer CertainTeed Corp. filed briefs on Columbia's behalf. All three say they found workers in "safety sensitive" positions carrying state-issued medical marijuana cards. Columbia and Freightliner also argue that their government contracts require them to enforce federal drug-free workplace laws.Justices aren't expected to issue a ruling on the case until 2006.Their decision would likely override an interpretation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries. The agency has said employers might have to make reasonable accommodations for medical-marijuana cardholders with qualified disabilities, including changing their shifts so they don't show up to work at times they're likely to be impaired.In June, a bill that would have exempted employers from making accommodations for medical marijuana, regardless of where it were used, passed the Oregon House of Representatives 39-20. The bill failed to make it out of a Senate committee.Complete Title: High Court Hears Case on Medical Marijuana in The WorkplaceSource: Associated Press (Wire)Published: November 8, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:Oregon Medical Marijuana Act Deal With Medical Marijuana Issue User Wins Appeal in Employment Dispute Stymied By Laws on Marijuana Use
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Comment #7 posted by cornoir on November 08, 2005 at 17:00:30 PT
So is this a criminal matter or something else?
"Under the influence", whether by alcohol, drugs or even fatigue is meant to mean a perceptible effect on a person to whatever it is they are using in a negative way.Under the legal definition of "under the influence" it refers to the immediate effects of whatever you took, not how does it affect you a few days later. But most drugs break down relatively fast in the human body, except for cannabis.This is the main issue that must be ironed out otherwise this kind of junk will keep coming up (mostly from the Insurance companies and employers looking for an excuse).I hear no mention in the article about workplace performance, so I suggest a test be done with alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, Psilocybin mushrooms and cocaine.We take groups of 10 people each per drug and put them through some work tests. See what is the average level of consumption before productivity worsens for each "drug". The details are published and hopefully someone else in the government will do a bigger test and bury this BS where it belongs, in the garbage.Perception is a silly thing, I live in NYC and most of the people here are either on medication from a doctor or medicate themselves, especially the "normal hard working executive types". If you want to see what alcohol does do a person go to any club in NYC, we have private ambulances parked outside the clubs to take some guy who overdosed on alcohol poisoning (even had a story about one guy left outside to die almost a year ago).
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 08, 2005 at 15:33:04 PT
Part of your DNA! Too much! LOL!
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Comment #5 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 08, 2005 at 15:26:52 PT
When testing
I always think positive! I really think that it no longer matters if I stop or not. After about 28 years of smoking, it's most likely part of my DNA. Oh well! Let them waste their money. Maybe we should all apply at jobs that require urinalysis as part of their application and everyone intentionally fail. Boy, would that suck on their bottom line. And perhaps, they might want to quit testing, if that were the case. Just a thought.Rev Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchPrayer: One form includes heavy Cannabis use
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Comment #4 posted by BigDawg on November 08, 2005 at 14:05:38 PT
If I test potitive for opiates... and have a prescription from the doc... I'm good to go... but test positive for THC and have a note from my doc... and lose my job?Just more war on SOME drugs.
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Comment #3 posted by jared3602 on November 08, 2005 at 11:35:25 PT
This artile doesn't say that he is going to work under the influence just that it is in his system. That is because of the way we test to see if someone has partaken in cannabis. My friend didn't smoke for over a month and a half and the test still came up postive. They need a better system to tell if someone is under the influence not just that they have partaken in the substance at some point in the past 2 months. That is like going out for a drink after work and a month later they fire you because you where under the influence. That is just absurd.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 08, 2005 at 07:52:41 PT
Related Article froma Snipped Source
Court Reviews Marijuana Ruling
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Comment #1 posted by runderwo on November 08, 2005 at 07:18:40 PT
So how about employees who show up to work with Marinol in their system? Zero tolerance there too? And anyone knows Marinol messes you up more than a reasonable smoked dose does. And hell, so does NyQuil and any number of OTC medicines.No, this is nothing more than an excuse to discriminate really.
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