NORML Seeks to Protect Medical Marijuana Consumers from Workplace Discrimination
Feb 15, 2017 09:01 AM EST
Legalizing medical marijuana in the United States has raised certain issues relating to drug tests in the American workplace. It has become a concern among many whether law-abiding employees will face higher risks of being fired from their workplace when a positive drug tests comes up, even if their marijuana use does not influence the person’s performance at work.
According to a report by NORML, it is ideal to identify ways with which the rights of medical marijuana consumers are incorporated into the workforce. At present, legalized medical marijuana is available in 29 states while recreational use of marijuana among adults is legal in eight states.
In an attempt to influence workplace drug testing, an expanding alliance of NORML Chapters in California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon has put forward their notions for protecting responsible medical marijuana consumers. Legislative and workplace measures have been proposed, such as changes in workplace drug testing policies, increasing employment opportunities for medical marijuana consumers and expanding off-duty legal protection for employees.
“Even though marijuana is legal and readily available in several states, consumers are being unfairly forced to choose between their job and consuming off the clock as a result of out-of-date employment practices,” Kevin Mahmalji, National Outreach Coordinator for NORML, explained. “That is why many NORML chapters active in legal states are now shifting their attention to protecting honest, hardworking marijuana consumers from these sort of antiquated, discriminatory workplace drug-testing practices, in particular the use of random suspicionless urine testing.”
In a report by New Jersey Local News, a licensed funeral director filed a lawsuit against his former employers after he was fired upon learning that he used medical marijuana for the treatment of his cancer symptoms. According to NORML activist and spokesperson Judd Golden, random drug testing of employees or applicants for marijuana use in the past remains discriminatory and could have adverse effects on business. Furthermore, testing employees to identify past use of medical marijuana and other legal substances is not appropriate these days.
The California NORML looks forward to medical marijuana consumers’ protection from job discrimination; the group also continues to work with reform groups and lawmakers in the hope of having a bill introduced to reduce and/or prevent discrimination relating to drug testing among responsible marijuana consumers in the workplace.