California Marijuana Law Takes a Hit

The California State Supreme Court found that employers can fire workers for using doctor-approved marijuana, despite a voter-approved state law permitting such use of the drug.

Plaintiff Gary Ross, an Air Force veteran with painful back injuries from his military career, was advised to use marijuana by his doctor.

He was drug tested at a telecommunications job despite having a note from his doctor, and fired not longer after.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the majority in the 5-2 decision found that nothing in the law prevented employers from firing employees who use drugs.

The dissenting justices said the court would have sided with Ross if he had been using legal drugs that nevertheless affect job performance, such as Valium, Vicodin or Ritalin.

They also say the majority ignored a provision of the law which prevented doctor-approved marijuana users from criminal prosecution and “sanction,” such as being fired.

State legislator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) called for new protections for workers with marijuana prescriptions.


“Workers can be fired for using medical pot off duty, court rules”
Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2008

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