Employers Advised to Hold Off on Testing for Pot Use

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine official says employers shouldn’t test for marijuana because state law doesn’t allow workers to be fired for using it.

A committee tasked with establishing new regulations in the wake of the legalization of recreational marijuana heard testimony Monday from a labor department official who said the state’s current rules are an outlier.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Julie Rabinowitz said employers currently can’t fire an employee or reject an applicant for failing a drug test. She said employers need more leeway to maintain drug-free workplaces.

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Radical Rant: There Are Almost as Many Tokers as Black People

HIGH TIMES has reported that the latest Gallup poll shows that 45 percent of Americans admit to having tried marijuana and 12 percent of Americans admit they are current marijuana consumers.

That means that there are roughly as many tokers in America as black people.

The latest U.S. Census estimates of Americans claiming to be black or African-American is 13.6 percent of the population, as of 2016.

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Court: Firing Someone for Medical Marijuana Use Is Illegal Discrimination

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Monday in Massachusetts that voter approval of medical marijuana means that employers can no longer simply fire employees who test positive for THC, if the workers can prove they are consuming it with a doctor’s recommendation.

The ruling comes from the case of Cristina Barbuto who suffers from Crohn’s Disease and was using MMJ several times a week to help ease the pain.

Barbuto, who had informed her new bosses of her illness and her MMJ usage, got fired after only one day on the job when she tested positive for marijuana.

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Man Claims He Was Wrongly Fired for Using Medical Marijuana

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — A glass company worker claims he was wrongfully fired for using medically prescribed marijuana to treat his chronic illness.

Joseph Cobb III has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Bridgeton-based Ardagh Glass, claiming he was let go despite his “stellar work performance.” He’s seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The company declined comment, saying it does not discuss pending litigation.

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Philadelphia Ponders Eliminating Drug Testing for Pot

While the government of Pennsylvania’s largest city cannot legalize marijuana, it can make life easier for pot consumers by banning drug testing for certain jobs or by prohibiting employers from testing potential employees at least until a conditional job offer is made.

Sounds reasonable.

Such leniency would not necessarily indicate an approval of smoking weed, nor an attempt to make it more accessible, reports the Good Men Project. It would simply ensure that more Philadelphians can get jobs by reducing the barriers to employment in a valiant attempt to lower the city’s 26 percent poverty rate.

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Opioids Hurting the Workforce, Marijuana Not So Much

All across the United States, presidents and CEO’s of companies are saying the abuse of prescription painkillers and other doctor-approved medications is having a negative impact on their bottom line, according to a new survey by the National Safety Council.

It seems that the portion of the great American workforce that has succumbed to the grips of addictive prescription medications is now missing around 50 percent more work than their sober counterparts—a situation that is causing these people to take off work as many as six weeks per year.

Although absenteeism is one of the primary complaints among companies dealing with this problem, the report also found that companies are dealing with drug-related injuries, worker-to-worker pill deals and even overdose situations more often.

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Radical Rant: My Testimony on Protecting Cannabis Users’ Employment Rights

Today, the Oregon Senate’s Committee on Judiciary is hearing testimony on Senate Bill 301, which would protect users of any legal substance in the state from discrimination in the workplace. Following is written testimony I submitted to the committee chair, Senator Floyd Prozanski.

Thank you for accepting my testimony on SB 301. To me, this is the most important bill that has come through the Oregon Legislature since I moved here in 2003.

I am originally a resident of Idaho. I am also a lifelong cannabis consumer. I deserve the same freedom from employment discrimination as any adult who drinks beer or smokes cigarettes, period.

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New Coalition Wants to Protect Workers From Being Fired Over Marijuana

Over half the nation has now legalized the leaf for medicinal and/or recreational purposes, putting millions of working class citizens in a position to consume the herb without any legal repercussions. However, many of these people are still at risk of catching some unwanted heat from inside the walls of the great American workforce because some companies still consider a positive test for marijuana to be grounds for termination.

It is for that reason there is now a push in legal marijuana states to pass protections for employees that feel threatened by no-tolerance drug policies. The national marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML is said to be spearheading these efforts in a number of jurisdictions, which it hopes will pave the way to new laws that prevent workers from being sent to the unemployment line for simply using a substance that has been deemed legal in the eyes of the state.

“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, told HIGH TIMES in an emailed statement. “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 suspicion-less urine testing.”

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More Businesses Dropping Pot from Pre-Employment Drug Tests

Thankfully, testing for pot in Colorado work sites has declined over the past two years. Some companies, seven percent, have totally dropped marijuana from their pre-employment tests and three percent have removed it from all drug tests.

It’s about time, considering that recreational weed in Colorado was approved by voters in 2012 and medical marijuana in 2000.

A survey done by the Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC) in December marked a shift from 2014, when when one-in-five employers reported stringent drug-testing policies, reported the Denver Post, which pointed out that these results don’t necessarily mean businesses are happy about their employees smoking weed.

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