Here’s something that we haven’t talked about on this blog. Since marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes what happens if your job requires that you take a drug test as a condition of employment? An article in the Tribune yesterday got me to thinking about the boat load of problems that could come with the use of medicinal marijuana. People I have talked to that work at the railroad think that since they are under federal safety regulations and the use of marijuana is still illegal at the federal level that the use of this “medicine” is not an option for them. What about truck drivers and people that drive for a living? Considering the fact that marijuana can be found in your system even after the effects has worn off how can someone with one of these jobs make use of marijuana safely under the current Montana laws?
When reading through the information on the DPHHS website it is apparent that a lot of issues are left unresolved as are many of the issues and opinions that have been posted in our comments section the last week or so. This wrongful discharge story is just one example.
Please review the Tribune article below and tell us where you think we should go from here. Also, what do you think the Havre City Council and the Hill County Commissioners should do to keep both sides of the issue happy? What is your solution to the problem before the City Council?
By TRAVIS COLEMAN • Tribune Staff Writer • March 13, 2010
A man who is HIV-positive is suing Loaf-n-Jug, claiming he was wrongfully terminated because he used medical marijuana. Mike Babbitt is seeking $500,000 in damages from the company, which is a division of the Cincinnati-based Kroger Company. Babbitt says he was discriminated against, lost wages and suffered other monetary damages.
Loaf-n-Jug Arthur Stawski said the company does not comment on pending litigation. The complaint filed earlier this month says Babbitt was hired by a Loaf-n-Jug in Great Falls in August and informed management that he is a qualified to receive medical marijuana. Babbitt was told he could be employed if he provided a clean pre-employment drug test.
When Babbitt told management he received his medical marijuana card, he was told it was no problem, the complaint states. But Babbitt was fired in November after a drug test from the previous month showed the presence of marijuana. Babbitt wasn't allowed to present an explanation for the test results, the complaint states. Babbitt's attorney is Mark Frisbie. The complaint states that Loaf-n-Jug's drug policy prohibits employees from using illegal drugs at work or while reporting to work, but Babbitt's marijuana use falls
under the company's definition of legal medication.
"Defendant's policy ... defines legal medications as 'prescribed and over-the-counter medications which have been legally obtained and are being used for the purpose for which they are prescribed or manufactured." Babbitt wasn't using medical marijuana at work or during working hours and that his marijuana use didn't affect his ability to work, the complaints states, adding that it is illegal to discriminate against someone using "a lawful product that is legally consumed."