The A.C.L.U. is appealing a decision handed down by Federal Judge Robert Jonker that ruled Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Law may protect users from arrest, but not employers’ policies that ban use of the drug.
Joseph Casias, who has an inoperable brain tumor, was fired by the Walmart store in Battle Creek after he failed a drug test. Casias was a registered patient under Michigan’s Medical Marijuana law.
“The fundamental problem is that the medical marijuana law does not regulate private employment,” Jonker wrote in his opinion. “Rather, the Act provides a potential defense to criminal prosecution or other adverse action by the state…All the law does is give some people limited protection from prosecution by the state, or from other adverse state action in carefully limited medical marijuana situations.”
He said the law “says nothing about private employment rights. Nowhere does the law state that the statute regulates private employment, that private employees are protected from disciplinary action should they use medical marijuana, or that private employers must accommodate the use of medical marijuana outside of the workplace.”
Obviously, this is one ignorant judge. Section 4 (a) of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Law specifically states: “A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied the right of privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with this act.”
The judge went on to write: “Under the theory of Casias’ attorneys, no private dmployer in Michigan could take any action against an employee based on an employee’s use of medical marijuana. This would create a new protected calss in Michigan and mark a radical departure from the general rule of at-will employment in Michigan.”
In appealing this decision, Scott Michelman, staff attorney with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project noted, “This ruling does not uphold the will of Michigan voters who clearly wanted to protect medical marijuana and facilitate its use by very sick people like Joseph Casias.”