cannabisnews.com: Calif. Firms Can Fire Medical Marijuana Users





Calif. Firms Can Fire Medical Marijuana Users
Posted by CN Staff on January 25, 2008 at 07:53:49 PT
By Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer 
Source: Washington Post 
Los Angeles, CA -- The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers can fire workers who test positive for marijuana even if they have a note from a doctor recommending its use for medical reasons.The 5 to 2 ruling came in a state that was the first to legalize cannabis for medical use but has followed up with ambiguity and ambivalence about making it a reality.
In the latest ruling, the high court said a Sacramento company had the right to fire Gary Ross in 2001 after a routine drug test came back positive for marijuana. Ross showed RagingWire Inc. a copy of his physician's recommendation to smoke the drug to relieve chronic back pain from three lumbar vertebrae fractured when he fell off the wing of an F-16 as an Air Force mechanic in 1983."From 1999 when my doctor started recommending medical marijuana, I can stop that spasm from getting into a knot and I don't need any pain medication," said Ross, adding he smokes only when he experiences spasms. "Prior to 1999 I was carted off in an ambulance a half a dozen times. Since 1999, only once."But the company fired him, arguing that drug use was illegal under federal law."What are they supposed to do?" said Deborah La Fetra of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed a brief supporting the company. "Employers are held liable all the time when drunk or stoned employees cause trouble, either in the workplace or driving home. That's one of the reasons why the drug-free workplace is so important."The high court largely agreed. "No state law could completely legalize marijuana for medical purposes because the drug remains illegal under federal law, even for medical users," Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote for the majority."Nothing in the text or history of the Compassionate Use Act suggests the voters intended the measure to address the respective rights and obligations of employers and employees."Advocates argued that the state legislature did exactly that, however, when it mentioned the workplace in the 2004 law refining the historic ballot initiative passed by voters in 1996.In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in support of Ross, five current and former lawmakers quoted statutory language stating that employers were not obliged to tolerate marijuana use on the job. The lawmakers said that amounted to an implicit statement that people who used marijuana medically would, in fact, be expected to have jobs.Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) immediately announced he would introduce legislation to make the right explicit."It really has less to do with whether someone is intoxicated at work than it has to do with the ability of someone to medicate themselves away from work and not during working hours," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, the Oakland advocacy group that represented Ross.Said Ross: "What we're fighting here is the stigma of the history of the '60s against the elderly generation that's in power."Part of the confusion in California stems from blurring distinctions between criminal and civil law covering the workplace. The majority opinion noted that Californians voted only to decriminalize marijuana use, saying that "the voters were entitled to change the criminal law without also speaking to employment law."But while federal criminal law still bars marijuana across the board, employers would not necessarily run afoul of federal law by employing people who use marijuana away from work, said Noel Ragsdale, an expert on employment law at the University of Southern California.Ragsdale said the 1988 federal drug-free workplace act requires employers to certify that they have a policy against employees abusing drugs in the workplace. "That, I think, is not implicated in a situation where someone is taking medical marijuana at home and then coming to work," she saidHermes said technology exists to test employees not simply for evidence of having taken marijuana, but for levels that would indicate whether they are impaired while on the job."I don't think the new technology is cheap," he conceded.The ruling stands to affect some 200,000 Californians estimated to use marijuana under the recommendation of healers."They have an impossible choice, just as the defense says: You can live with excruciating pain, and work. Or you can get relief the act says you can get, and not work," Ragsdale said."It's a real visceral blow to any kind of real ability to realize the benefits of that Compassionate Use Act."Note: State's High Court Finds Compassionate Use Act Does Not Affect Employers' Rights.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:   Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer Published: Friday, January 25, 2008; A04Copyright: 2008 Washington Post Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Related Articles & Web Site:Americans For Safe Accesshttp://www.safeaccessnow.org/Workers Can Be Fired for Using Med Pot Off Dutyhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23627.shtmlCA Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Marijuana Rulinghttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23626.shtmlMedical Pot Use Can Get You Firedhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23625.shtml 
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Comment #22 posted by John Tyler on January 27, 2008 at 08:56:21 PT
keep on
Iím not too surprised about the outcome of the court case. On big issues like this, the courts usually decide in favor of prohibition, however flawed their logic. But, with every setback like that there are other steps forward in other areas that the prohibs canít stop, like the vending machine concept (I know, that is questionable, but itís going to drive the prohibs crazy. They are will envision these things on every block of every street across the country. They will rant about this like raving lunatics.), or Mayors wanting a cease-fire in the Drug War, or some other new medical cannabis breakthrough. Hopefully, the pressure to end this prohibition will build to the point that it can no longer be sustained.  
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Comment #21 posted by afterburner on January 26, 2008 at 10:19:45 PT
Michigan Tried to Address the Metabolite Issue
"Michigan has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law for cannabis and other controlled substances. Although Cannabis metabolites are excluded under the statutory language of the drugged driving law, MCL 257.625(8), Michiganís Supreme Court has ruled that cannabis metabolites are included as well. (Michigan v. Derror)." 
MI Drugged Driving (DUID) 
http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4544&wtm_view=duid
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on January 26, 2008 at 07:31:48 PT
Hope
Heck that's ok. fOm would be fine too! LOL!Seriously the vending machine idea is scary to me.
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Comment #19 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 26, 2008 at 05:55:56 PT
My Regret Is...
That cannabis consumers are not refusing to work for employers that conduct cannabis test. A call it a cannabis test because hardly anyone gets fired for all other drugs. It is still discrimination, regardless of what the court decides. We need to start getting agressive with judges, they can be fired.
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on January 25, 2008 at 22:44:30 PT
The state... of California? The state?
"The state will start with two prescription vending machines offering medical marijuana." 
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 25, 2008 at 22:41:06 PT
Fom?
I think that's the first time I've done that... although I nearly have before... or something like it. Sorry bout that.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on January 25, 2008 at 22:39:48 PT
Fom Comment 14
Exactly!And you know the DEA is going to come get that thing. Probably tomorrow!Or maybe they will wait until it's loaded with pictures and ID and fingerprints.It sounds like something the DEA might actually have designed.Do they take your fingerprints and photographs of you when you buy at normal dispensaries? 
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Comment #15 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 25, 2008 at 15:49:26 PT:
Cool Idea
But I don't think I'd be getting mine out of the machine. Although they would certainly come in handy if they would keep the vending machine available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Have it open when the dispensary is closed. As long as you had security there at all times, I think that would work. 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on January 25, 2008 at 15:47:40 PT
Hope
What I mind is the finger printing and picture. If they raided and took the machine wouldn't they have proof of purchases and couldn't they come after the individuals if they wanted too?
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on January 25, 2008 at 14:57:23 PT
Medical vending machines?
That's strange. It's amazing how strange things can get over the herb, cannabis.I doubt that prediction about them ever being like as common as soda vending machines. What is the need of such a machine when there are people there? I don't get it. I can't see the value or convenience of it, except as something for prohibs to raise more hell about like they did the medicinal sweets. 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 25, 2008 at 13:19:39 PT
Video: Cannabis Machine Hits L.A. 
http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=3752777n
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on January 25, 2008 at 12:29:44 PT
Pot Vending Machines
Pot Vending MachinesIronically...pot dispensing vending machines have been approved in California ***Friday, Jan 25, 2008 
Los Angeles, CA -- Ironically...pot dispensing vending machines have been approved in California.Starting Monday, patients can buy legal medical marijuana at a Los Angeles herbal nutrition center.All they have to do is pass through security, submit their scripts, pay, and pick-up their drugs.Store employees say it is a safe, fast way to process prescriptions.Geoff Dulebohn, Herbal Nutrition Center: "They'll slide card in, and they'll fingerprint in to verify that it's them. A camera takes a picture of them, verifying that they're actually at the machine."The state will start with two prescription vending machines offering medical marijuana. Owners believe they could eventually become as common as soda machines.Copyright: 2008 Media General, Inc. URL: http://tinyurl.com/23teob
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Comment #10 posted by unkat27 on January 25, 2008 at 12:28:28 PT
Vampires and Vultures are not humanitarians
""This decision is pure Fascism. Industry owning the individual. It doesn't matter what the individual needs."" - HopeYes, the fascists that run the big industry are big war-profiteers and vultures that make big profits from DoD contracts and they hate pacifists. They know that most cannabis-users tend to be antiwar and pacific, so they're under some political and economic pressure to punish the pacifists by whatever means possible. I wouldn't be surprised if some Bushite at the DoD came up with this idea himself.
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Comment #9 posted by Sam adams on January 25, 2008 at 11:55:43 PT
this discussion
I always remember when I was growing up, we'd ridicule the Soviets because they'd have elections, but 99% of the vote would always go to the current Premier.  We heard it again mentioned to ridicule Saddam Hussein, he always got re-elected with 99% of the vote.Yet over here we hold elections and 99% goes to 2 Republicrat candidates in every election and no thinks that's unusual at all. 2 isn't that far from 1 folks! 2 can be made into 1 quite easily.Most European countries have systems where several different parties get a chunk of the vote and commensurate representation in the Parliament or Congress-type body.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 25, 2008 at 11:24:24 PT
Graehstone Comment 4
Thank you. His words do sound profoundly prophetic of where we are now. It's really hard to comprehend, sometimes, how far we, as a nation, have fallen, but Kennedy's words describe exactly what has happened to us. 
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Comment #7 posted by museman on January 25, 2008 at 11:16:31 PT
Ok, clever then
Like snakes. With thousands of years of practice at control and manipulation of basic human needs and desires. When you create and enforce reality consistently over millennia - with the easy solution of assassination, murder, torture, and imprisonment for dissenting humanity - it's easy to see why such moronic behavior could be erroneously associated with such attributes as 'intelligence,' 'experience,' and 'authority.'Here's the sword/army/gun-at-your-head/roadside bomb;
"Repeat after me, or else," (feel the pressure of the barrel on your temple)
"The Emporers clothes are real. The Emporers clothes are real." And such a command of academe! The veritable quantification of measured intelligence! At least that's what they'd like us -those who actually have intelligence- to think, I mean what are those awards and diplomas on the wall for if not some lame attempt to prove the impossible; that filling ones mind with plattitudinal fractions of reality is somehow going to make us more here than we already are.Such wool. Such lies.A dynasty of the powerful has existed since Sumeria. It never ceased it's oppression of creation and the people of creation. The Clinton and Bush clans are just a couple of minor families in the predatory crush. You don't see the majors.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 25, 2008 at 10:34:24 PT
Boy... did this ever make the news.
It's been all over the place and shouted from the roof tops. Wonder why the news of how cannabis fights cancers and helps diabetes and Alzheimer's, among many other beneficial to mankind things, didn't make the headlines like this story did?This decision is pure Fascism. Industry owning the individual. It doesn't matter what the individual needs.http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascismFascism1: often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control  
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Comment #5 posted by Max Flowers on January 25, 2008 at 10:30:31 PT
Fittingly
Here's an interesting opinion/theory about the possible cause of the mess we're in:[from informamerica.net]Submitted by joemartin on Sat, 2007-05-26 08:39   According to new books which are coming out, there were discussions in early 90's between Bush and Clinton families of creating a dynasty which would rule for many years. Apparently this dynasty would always contain members of one family or the other or stooges hired and sold to the public through massive public relations promotions.   Since we can already see that Hillary was originally pro-war on "IraqNam" and has vacillated since then on this issue, depending on what's popular and considered acceptable, we see a pattern indicating more of a "Republican in the closet" in Hillary.   How hardly can the public see what is going on behind the scenes when Bushfraud reportedly has flown 360 billion dollars in U.S. currency into an Iraqi war zone and subsequently the cash was lost, or so they say? What happened to three c-140's full of cash? How many members of Congress now have their pockets lined and stuffed with some of that cabbage?   There have been documentaries showing how cheap some politicians will sell out and take a bribe, even on F.B.I. tapes recording the whole audio and video of deals going down in hotel-motel rooms or suites.   I think the unbridled money printing cartel of the Federal Reserve may have been abused and lots of unbacked cabbage has been run off the presses, the currency naturally shipped overseas in order to avoid U.S. detection on U.S. Soil. This explains why Congress allowed Bush to stop reporting the m3 money supply as of late 2005.   One couldn't put that much money into U.S. banks and expect it to remain undeclared and undetected so it went offshore.Once a deal with the "MACHINE" is made, no politician wants to end up like J.F.K. so there has to be capitulation. It isn't too hard to figure out the reason Congresspersons have prearranged enough yes votes to give Bushfraud his way. Perhaps those reasons are part of the so-called "lost" 360 billion dollars, some of which must reside in offshore bank accounts and vaults of U.S. Congresspersons.
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Comment #4 posted by Graehstone on January 25, 2008 at 09:42:13 PT
There was one exception ...
... a long time ago.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxnpujfanUM&feature=related
A prophetic president?
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Comment #3 posted by museman on January 25, 2008 at 09:39:31 PT
oxymorons
the "High Court"Take away the heated OXYgen, and all you have left is morons.
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Comment #2 posted by museman on January 25, 2008 at 09:37:27 PT
and politicians
Are all together in the same club, no exceptions. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!So lets all go out to the polls and 'elect' the next set of vipers and vermin to continue and ensure the destruction of life as we know it. Then back to the mines so those special folks can ride in luxury, and dine in opulence. After all, without our 'jobs' where would all those hyperbolic bags of super-heated verbosity get their $100,000+ annual stipend?
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on January 25, 2008 at 09:11:49 PT:
About politics
It is the diritiest game in town. It is a pig with a bath.It is rats and snakes in neckties.All things political are tied to a purse string.No matter how you dress it up it is the nature of the beast.In politics: who pays the piper calls the tune.
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