Archives: Medical Marijuana

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Employer’s Refusal to Hire Medical Marijuana User Violates State Law, Rhode Island State Court Holds

Employers cannot refuse to hire a medical marijuana cardholder, even if the individual admittedly would not pass the employer’s pre-employment drug test required of all applicants, a Rhode Island state court has held under the state medical marijuana law. Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., et al., No. PC-2014-5680 (R.I. Super. Ct., May 23, 2017). The … Continue Reading

West Virginia Enacts Medical Marijuana Law

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed legislation that legalizes the use of marijuana for medicinal uses on April 19, 2017. The new law, Senate Bill 386, known as “The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act,” permits patients suffering from serious medical conditions including cancer, ALS, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, … Continue Reading

Licensed Medical Marijuana Caregiver’s Termination For Selling Drugs At Work Was Not Age Discrimination

A federal court in Michigan dismissed the age discrimination claim of a licensed medical marijuana caregiver who was terminated in connection with an investigation into drug activity at work. Henry v. Outback Steakhouse of Fla., LLC, No. 15-cv-10755 (E.D. Mich. April 18, 2017). Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, but the drug still is illegal … Continue Reading

U.S. Senators Seek Clarification From Department of Justice Regarding Federal Marijuana Enforcement Priorities

In light of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s recent comments that the Department of Justice may seek “greater enforcement” of the federal laws prohibiting the recreational use of marijuana, eleven U.S. Senators sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking clarification of the DOJ’s position. In a letter dated March 2, 2017, … Continue Reading

Trump Administration May Enforce Federal Laws Prohibiting Non-Medical Use of Marijuana

In one of the Trump Administration’s first public statements on recreational marijuana, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated in a press conference today that the Department of Justice may seek “greater enforcement” of the federal laws prohibiting the recreational use of marijuana. Mr. Spicer said that there is “a big difference” between medical marijuana … Continue Reading

Seven States Pass New Marijuana Laws On Election Day

Election Day 2016 saw voters approve new marijuana laws in seven states. There are now a total of 28 states (plus the District of Columbia) with medical marijuana laws and 8 states (plus the District of Columbia) with recreational marijuana laws. Arizona’s proposed recreational marijuana law did not pass.  Read the full article on Jackson … Continue Reading

Massachusetts State Court Rejects Medical Marijuana Suit

In another win for employers with regard to medical marijuana use by employees, a Massachusetts state court rejected a former employee’s legal claims under the state’s medical marijuana law. Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, et al., No. 15-02677 (Mass. Sup. Ct. May 31, 2016). The plaintiff, Christina Barbuto, possessed a valid medical marijuana prescription … Continue Reading

Eight States Will Vote On New Marijuana Laws On Election Day 2016

Currently, twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws, while four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  On Election Day 2016, eight more states will consider adopting such laws.  Here is a brief summary of those proposed laws, focusing on the implications for employers: Medical Marijuana … Continue Reading

DEA Denies Petitions To Reschedule Marijuana But Will Authorize More Marijuana Manufacturing To Foster Research

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced August 11, 2016 that it denied two petitions to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In addition, DEA announced a policy change designed to foster research by expanding the number of DEA-registered marijuana manufacturers, and issued a statement of principles concerning industrial hemp. The CSA categorizes drugs … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Enacts Medical Marijuana Law

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation that legalizes the use of marijuana for medicinal uses on April 17, 2016. The new law, Senate Bill 3, known as “The Medical Marijuana Act” permits patients suffering from ALS, autism, cancer, Crohn’s disease, nerve damage, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s Disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, intractable seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Permission For Lawsuit Seeking to Invalidate Colorado’s Legalization Of Marijuana

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma for leave to file a complaint against the state of Colorado, challenging that State’s legalization of marijuana. The Supreme Court denied the motion without opinion or explanation on March 21, 2016. In December 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma moved for leave … Continue Reading

Montana’s Revised Medical Marijuana Law Survives Constitutional Challenge

The Montana Supreme Court has upheld against a state constitutional challenge the State’s 2011 Montana Marijuana Act, a new statutory framework embodying the State’s effort to limit abuses resulting from the 2004 Medical Marijuana Act, which was established by voter initiation. Montana Cannabis Industry Ass’n v. The State of Montana, 2016 Mont. LEXIS 168 (Feb. … Continue Reading

New Mexico Court Holds Employers Need Not Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use

A federal court in New Mexico dismissed the lawsuit of an employee who was fired after testing positive for marijuana, even though he used medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Garcia v. Tractor Supply Company, No. 15-cv-00735 (D.N.M. Jan. 7, 2016). The Court held that the employer did not violate New Mexico law or … Continue Reading

Washington Court Dismisses Medical Marijuana Claims Asserted by Employee

Another Washington court has held that an employer lawfully may terminate an employee for using marijuana, even when the employee had a prescription and used it off-duty. Swaw v. Safeway, Inc., No. C15-939 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 20, 2015). After a workplace injury, Safeway tested its employee, Swaw, for drugs. Swaw tested positive for marijuana due … Continue Reading

New York Passes Emergency Medical Marijuana Law

Less than two months before New York’s Compassionate Care Act of 2014 was supposed to make medical marijuana available to qualified patients, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a measure (A. 7060, S. 5086) creating “an expedited pathway” to the drug for the seriously ill. The purpose of the measure, according to its legislative findings and … Continue Reading

Marijuana-Legalization Efforts and Their Impact on the Presidential Race

With the race for the White House heating up, the “politics of marijuana” is looming as a possibly significant factor. Twenty-four state ballot initiatives on marijuana legalization in 16 states have been filed already and will be voted on in November 2016, including in the “swing states” of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and … Continue Reading

New Hawaii Medical Marijuana Law Bars Use in Workplace; Zero Tolerance Policies Still Enforceable

Closing a gap in Hawaii’s medical marijuana law, a new law sets up a regime of vertically integrated grow facilities and retail dispensing licenses for the delivery of medical marijuana to “cardholders” in Hawaii. The stated intent of the new law, signed by Governor David Ige on July 14, 2015, is to ensure a commercialized … Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana Business Expenses Are Not Tax Deductible, Court Holds

Taxpayers cannot take deductions for business expenses associated with operating a medical marijuana dispensary, according to a recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Olive v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 13-70510 (9th Cir. July 9, 2015). In 2012, the United States Tax Court assessed penalties and fines against San Francisco’s Vapor Room … Continue Reading

Colorado Supreme Court Holds Medical Use of Marijuana is Not “Lawful”; Upholds Employee Discharge For Positive Drug Test

In a long-awaited and highly-anticipated decision, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously upheld an employer’s termination of an employee who tested positive on a drug test due to his off-duty use of medical marijuana. Interpreting Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” the Court held that the term “lawful” refers only to activities that are lawful under both state … Continue Reading

New York Implements Medical Marijuana Rules

The New York State Department of Health has issued regulations implementing the State’s medical marijuana law, enacted last July.  (See post, New York Becomes 23rd State to Enact Medical Marijuana Law, July 10, 2014). Published April 15 in the State Register, the regulations allow the use of marijuana for patients with cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, … Continue Reading

Georgia Enacts Medical Marijuana Law

Georgia became the twenty-fourth state to enact a medical marijuana law. On April 16, 2015, Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation that immediately legalizes the use of a low-potency form of cannabis oil for medicinal uses. The new law, House Bill 1, known as “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” permits patients suffering from cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s … Continue Reading

Federal Spending Bill Creates Controversy Over Federal Government’s Position on Medical Marijuana

Buried in the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill for 2015 — which Congress approved last weekend and which President Obama signed into law on December 16, 2014 — is a measure stating that federal funds may not be used by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to prevent certain states from implementing medical marijuana laws.  … Continue Reading

Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Allows Employees Terminated for Positive Marijuana Test Results to Receive Unemployment Benefits

A Michigan appellate court has held that an employee who holds a state medical marijuana card is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits after the employee has been terminated for failing a drug test, where the employee received a positive test result for marijuana or its metabolites.  Thus, the question we posed earlier this year, … Continue Reading
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