Federal Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Patient Can Sue For Being Denied Job Over Failed Drug Test
Federal Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer ruled this week that a Connecticut medical marijuana patient can sue a company who denied her a job based on failing a drug test for marijuana.
In Katelin Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company L.L.C., doing business as Bride Brook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Ms. Noffsinger, a recreational therapist who uses medical marijuana legally to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder,contended that Bride Brook illegally denied her employment after initially hiring her, but then revoked the offer once she tested positive for marijuana in a drug test.
The defendant attempted to dismiss Ms. Noffsinger’s lawsuit over the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. In the ruling by the United States District Court of Connecticut ruling, Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer stated that: “This lawsuit calls upon me to decide if federal law preempts Connecticut law. In particular, I must decide if federal law precludes enforcement of a Connecticut law that prohibits employers from firing or refusing to hire someone who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes. I conclude that the answer to that question is ‘no’ and that a plaintiff who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes in compliance with Connecticut law may maintain a cause of action against an employer who refuses to employ her for this reason.”
The ruling comes roughly a month after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a women fired for medical marijuana use can sue her employer.