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TODAY’S QUESTION: Is Walmart right to fire employee for medical marijuana use?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | 10:25 a.m. CDT; updated 6:54 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In November 2009, Walmart fired a Michigan employee after learning he was one of 20,000 legal medical marijuana users in Michigan, according to an article from CNN.

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Walmart. In the CNN article, an ACLU attorney says, “No patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment.”

In response, Walmart, though sympathetic to their former employee’s condition, said that the safety of both customers and associates dictates that nobody found to be using marijuana should remain employed by the company.

Joseph Casias, 30, the employee at the center of the lawsuit, was fired after testing positive for drug use. However, Casias was named the 2008 Associate of the Year at the Battle Creek Walmart where he worked. He has lived with sinus cancer and a brain tumor for the past decade. Casias says that, in accordance with Michigan state law, he was never under the influence of marijuana while at work.

Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008. The lawsuit indicates that, under the Michigan law, legal medical marijuana patients are protected from employee discipline that is in response to marijuana use.

Federal law currently prohibits the use of marijuana.

Is Walmart right to fire employees for medical marijuana use?


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