MA Supreme Court Rules Women Fired for Medical Marijuana can Sue for Discrimination

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has unanimously ruled in favor of a woman fired for medical marijuana.

Cannabis Becomes Legal TonightThe ruling, according to Reuters, allows the woman to sue the company for handicap discrimination based on her firing.

In their ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the former employer’s argument that she could not sue it for handicap discrimination because possessing marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Lawyers for the former employee, Christina Barbuto, said the ruling represents a major win for employees in the state and sets precedent that will likely have an effect on medical marijuana states.

In the case, Barbuto accused Advantage Sales and Marketing of firing her for a failed drug test taken after her first day of work. Barbuto tested positive for cannabis, which she uses to treat low appetite associated with her Crohn’s disease.

Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote that if a doctor concludes medical marijuana is the most effective treatment for an employee’s debilitating condition, “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,” said Grants.

Massachusetts voters approved the medicinal use of marijuana in 2012.

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