Court Rules That Employees Can’t Be Fired For Medical Marijuana

By John Vibes

This week, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that businesses can not fire employees for using medical marijuana if they have a legal prescription. Under the ruling, employees will be able to sue for handicap discrimination if they are fired for their medical marijuana use.

The ruling came in the case of Christina Barbuto, a former employee of Advantage Sales and Marketing, who said she was fired because she tested positive for marijuana, despite the fact that she was legally allowed to use the drug under state law. Barbuto was prescribed cannabis by her doctor to help with complications caused by Crohn’s disease.

When Barbuto was fired, she was told that even though cannabis was legal in her state, she was still going to be let go because it is illegal under federal law.

The ruling stated that, “Even if the accommodation of the use of medical marijuana were facially unreasonable, which it is not, the employer here still owed the plaintiff an obligation under (Massachusetts law) before it terminated her employment, to participate in the interactive process to explore with her whether there was an alternative, equally effective medication she could use that was not prohibited by the employer’s drug policy. This failure to explore a reasonable accommodation alone is sufficient to support a claim of handicap discrimination.”

Chief Justice Ralph Gants concluded that if a medical marijuana patient tests positive for the drug “an exception to an employer’s drug policy to permit its use is a facially reasonable accommodation. The fact that the employee’s possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation.”

The judge said that since it is only the employee who faces legal danger under federal law, the employer can’t claim that they have a liability in the matter. If the employee happens to be using the drug at work, the employer could potentially have a case to fire them, but not if the drug is taken while the employee is off-duty.

Matthew Fogelman, Barbuto’s lawyer, pointed out that since marijuana is legal, it is no different from any other prescription drug.

“This is the highest court in Massachusetts recognizing that the use of medically prescribed marijuana is just as lawful as the use of any prescribed medication,” he said.

“Before this there was no protection in Massachusetts for employers firing them for a drug test even if they were using it for medicinal purposes,” he added.

Earlier this year, a similar move was made through the legislature in Pennsylvania.

In addition to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, laws have also been passed in Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota, which protect the rights of employees who have been prescribed medical marijuana.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference.  John is currently battling cancer naturally, without any chemo or radiation, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments please donate. 

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30 Comments on "Court Rules That Employees Can’t Be Fired For Medical Marijuana"

  1. Disqus-helpsGOVTbreaklaws&kill | July 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Reply

    organic marijuana or the GMO pharmaceutical grade marijuana

    • If you’re buying it off the street from a total stranger, how would you know the difference to begin with? And I wouldn’t trust the Gov’t as far as I could throw an anvil. Unless you grow it yourself, you never REALLY know what you’ve got.

    • James Peters | July 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Reply

      No approved pharma drug uses GMO’s.

      • Disqus-helpsGOVTbreaklaws&kill | July 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Reply

        Monsanto Creates First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana …St-Louis,
        MO | Monsanto, the multi-billion agribusiness giant, has announced
        it has patented genetically modified marijuana.

        • James Peters | July 23, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Reply

          Monsanto have done that. From their twitter account they state: ”Happy 4-20. Time for our yearly reminder: Monsanto has not and is not working on GMO marijuana.”

          But a few cannabinoid based companies like Vitality Biopharma and InMed Pharmaceuticals are using biosynthesis which includes the use of enzymatic, bacteria or yeast-based systems for the production of pharmaceuticals.

  2. Corporations should base their assessments on performance only. They have no right to check your pee.

    • IN most states, corporations can fire you for “no cause,” meaning for any reason, religion, opinion, gender, color of skin, etc. This is a tyranny from which even government is prohibited. Corporate totalitarianism.

      • It’s called “Right To Work” and it is the only alternative to Unionization, or “collective bargaining”. Both systems are flawed.

        • The difference being that Right To Work errs in favor of Libertarianism/ Constitutionality via 1st Amendment freedom of association clause (which I point out gives us the FREEDOM to NOT associate with whomever we choose)…

          Whereas Unions err on the side of Socialism/Communism, which has failed everywhere it’s ever been tried in history, and caused the deaths of untold millions of people hoping only for a better life.

          I felt that point needed some clarification.

          • dale ruff | July 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm |

            under socialism, there is no need for unions to speak for workers against the power of capital since the workers own the means of production. Unions ae the alternative to socialism or communism: today we have corporate fascism, with the ruling financial elites have all the power and workers none.

          • Then perhaps you should move to Socialist Venezuela since you are so enamored of their system. Oh, wait. They’re all starving to death, rioting and murdering each other.

            LOL! “The workers own the means of construction”

            I got some bad news for you sunshine! The “workers” don’t own squat. The State owns EVERYTHING…including the “workers”.

            Mankind rejected the only perfect form of government in the Garden of Eden. Your only choice is between the least of all evils (free market capitalism) and everything else. So complaining about your situation while living in the most prosperous country on the planet is a fool’s errand and only serves to reveal your petulant immaturity and lack of understanding.

          • dale ruff | July 26, 2017 at 7:31 am |

            So anyone who presents objective information about socialism should move to a country currently underattack by the Deep State?

            There is no “free market capitalism.” That is a utopian myth, or lie.

            Capilalists seek to get rich, to consolidate wealth, thru eliminating competition(by wars of destruction or conquest, buying out competition,, assassination, etc…using the Deep State apparatus, and thru price wars and buying favors or taking over government to serve special interests.)
            The goal is not competition in free markets but to get rid of competition and corner the market, thus allowing price fixing. Capitalists hate competition, ie free markets. We only have free markets and honest competiton when capitalism is replaced with a system based not on consolidating wealth hand power (ie corporate fascism) but on shared wealth and power (ie anarchism of self-government). If the state controls all capital, and the state is controlle by the elite that is state capitalism. Genuine socialism is the opposite; workers control the means of production democratically. As Marx wrote, the state, which serves the ruling class, withers away when it no longer is needed to serve the wealthy elites. This is the anarchist base of genuine socialism.

            it is a return to our ancient birthrate, the vast era in which private property was unknown and all wealth was shared by all; none rich, none poor. No masters/no slaves; equality and freedom are necessary parts of each other.

            For 99% of humanity’s existence, society as egalitarian, sharing, with no private property, no rulers, no wars.

            The US is not the most prosperous nation on the planet. Of 34 advanced natoins, it has the most poverty, the worst health and heathcare system, and the median wages have fallen 40% since 1989. You are living with lies and myths.

            We have an obligation Not to fall for the lies that perpetuate the oligarchy and to work and struggle to create a democratic Republic where wealth is shared by all.

            If you want to get rid of government, why don’t you move to Somalia or Afghanistan where the state has no power?

            I will stay with my family to create a just society. Your stupid advice to move to a nation currently under attack is a wornout cliche substituting for taking critical and constructive views, which you call “whining,” seriously.

            America is a sick society; we all have an obligation to help it heal. I urge you to stop whining about those who are working to do so and to join us, comrade.

          • dale ruff | July 27, 2017 at 8:18 am |

            Venezuelans are not starving; malnutrition is down 50% since the
            Socialists began feeding the hungry;
            See my article Starvation Propaganda is War Propaganda at which exposes how lies about starvation in North Korea and Venezuela are being spread to justify war based on fake “humanitarian crisis.”

            And stop believing State Department and MSM disinformation! In fact,Venezueans are overweight and need to lose a few pounds.

            “A recent documentary showing Venezuelan fishing communities was a revelation, because almost every single Venezuelan male over the age of about 35 years had a huge pot belly! The interesting thing is that the people portrayed in the documentary are relatively poor, but the obesity rate shown appears to be sky high. All the women shown were also very fat.”

            Many of the “hard to find” food items are such as sugar, which is toxic and causes both cancer and obesity. Chavez called for dieting in 2009 and food hoarding by profiteers has indeed caused Venezueans to lose a little weight, but the claims of starvation are pure propaganda, designed to justify US military intervention if the Deep State sabotage fails to take down a government which has helped the poor and battled the oligarchs, who still control 70% of the economy.

        • Tyranny, denial of basic rights, is evil however you name it. It’s called totalitarianism and The Right to work of less. Only collective bargaining has ever given labor a voice…….giving capital all the power is corporate fascism in which worker have not the “right to work” (an absurd term since corporations need workers) but the compulsion to work without any rights honored, a tyranny even the government cannot perpetrate.

          Since Reagan destroyed the private union movement, which gave workers over 30 years of growing prosperity, the median wage since 1989 is down 40% and the top 1% have tripled income and wealth. That is not the Right to Work but class warefare on the working class.

          “Right to Work” is Orwellian double speak for Work without Rights.

          • This society can not even abide by our own Constitution. Just how do you imagine that you’re going to be able to legislate morality?

            The reason unions are dying isn’t because of Reagan. The reason they’re dying is because of their own moral corruption, graft and greed. Jimmy Hoffa and Reagan are both dead. The only difference is that we KNOW where Reagan is buried!

          • dale ruff | July 26, 2017 at 7:42 am |

            Would you end the law against rape and murder because of the claim “you cannot legislate morality?”

            Humam societies have aways legislated morality by having laws punishing middeeds.

            Unions went from 25% of workforce to 11% after Reagan destroyed the controllers’s uion and right wing Right to Work for less” laws destroyed union power, leaving all power in the hands of the greedy captilalists who then began to lobby for anti-union laws and move jobs offshore.

            Your views are both dogmatic and reflect capitalist propaganda. Without unions or some form of labor power (such as co-determination laws in Europe, or workers’s coops or ESOPS), the greedy capitalists rule, taking over not only the economy but the government, which is then used to transfer wealth from labor to the rich (neo-liberalism).

            I am hearing from you the whole right wing dogma. Boring.

    • Exactly. Mandatory urine tests are a direct violation of our Fourth Amendment Constitutional Rights. They always HAVE been. So, instead of “mandatory”, they call it “voluntary”…with anyone refusing to “volunteer” being fired without cause.

  3. In a libertarian’s wetdream, most states allow firing “without cause,” meaning, in effect, you can be fired for your exercise of First Amendment rights, such as speech, religion, etc. Since no justification need be given, if you on your own time, practice a religion, or make comments the boss doesn’t like, he can fire you. You can’t prove the reason because he has no obligation to give cause.

    This is a private tyranny that even the government cannot achieve, since it is prohibited from firings based on religion, speech, gender, etc. in a society dominated by corporations, both privately and by occupying the seats of power, tyranny wears the mask of ‘property rights” and human rights are demeaned.

    As a libertarian socialist (born in the mid 19th Century), I reject both state and private/corporate tyranny and the totalitarian structure of corporate power.

    • I notice that your rejection of it has not impacted the problem one iota. How does that make you feel?

      • It has impacted the problem for me: I do not bow down to either state or private forms of tyranny. When people act collectively, it has a major impact, as when I protested the Vietnam War, or marched against state tyranny with Dr. King. That makes me hopeful and proud.

        Only resistance to tyranny has ever brought it down. How does it make you feel to do nothing but surrender and ask pointless questions, based on the false assumption that my rejection, personally and collectively, of tyranny has not had an impact?

        • You misunderstand completely, but that was my goal. You see, your struggle has been MY struggle…no doubt using the same methods and decisions for decades.

          My point is that you are not alone in your views or your actions…and yet NOTHING has changed about society. While we might be personally enriched by our decisions, it has had zero impact on the problem, has it?

          We remain outcast. We remain persecuted. To quote Agent Smith in Matrix Reloaded, “We’re not here because we are free. We are here because we are NOT free. The logic is inescapable.”.

          Face the fact that the price you and I were willing to pay for our “freedom” is so steep that 99% of society is unwilling to pay it. Then ask yourself why that is so. I’d be interested to hear your answer to that question.

  4. The problem is that we all belong to a control freak species. It’s not enough that we screw our OWN lives up. We’re never truly content until we are able to screw up everyone ELSE’S lives in addition to our own.

    Misery, it seems, truly DOES love company.

    Anyone who still doesn’t believe that the Great American Experiment is dead as a door-nail should consider our credo…”LIVE AND LET LIVE“. Do we do that in today’s society? No.

    Thank God for death! Such insatiable lust for power and control was never meant to be immortal.

    The wages of sin IS Death. Not death of the body…which halts our personal perfidies…but the death of the soul for eternity. That is the thought that needs to be front and center to all those who wish to impose their will upon another human being out of spite, jealousy, or greed.

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