The Kaufman Law Firm
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Toll Free 866-278-2385
Offices in Los Angeles and Ventura County

An Employee Rights Law Firm

Matthew A. Kaufman has successfully represented employees in the areas of Family Medical Leave, Disability Discrimination and Wage & Commissions disputes for more than 20 years

Marijuana use and employment issues

With the recent passing of Proposition 64, it is probably useful to discuss the rights of marijuana users regarding employment. Over half of the states provide for medical marijuana use and a handful permit recreational use (for your information, recreational marijuana will not become available in California until 2018, at the earliest). As the prevalence of marijuana use spreads, you may begin to wonder the extent of your employment rights. This post will go over your rights and what you can do if you believe an employer violated them.

To date, there are no state protections for lawful marijuana use. This area of the law is still developing so it could change rapidly in the next few years or even months. The only seminal decision on the matter had the most sympathetic plaintiff imaginable, a man who was a quadriplegic who only smoked on his free time and never went to work high. Unfortunately, he failed a drug test and was fired from his position.

The court ruled that, since marijuana is illegal at the federal level, any state laws that protect lawful activity done off work premises do not apply to marijuana. Keep in mind that this decision is unique to Colorado (the state in which it was rendered), but it is likely that many other state courts would follow Colorado's lead.

Furthermore, there are no protections under federal law because marijuana remains an illegal activity.

As illustrated above, you don't have blanket immunity rights against termination for marijuana use. But there are some narrow exceptions, for example, for medical care which is necessary. If you believe, you were wrongfully terminated due to your medical prescription for medical marijuana. An attorney can help you get just compensation for your lost job. It isn't fair, but sometimes you are the only person that will stand up for your rights.

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