Massachusetts High Court Rules On Work and Weed; Gov. Prepares to Sign Legalization Into Law

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Massachusetts’ medical marijuana patients receive legal cover from state Supreme Court ruling as Gov. Charlie Baker prepares to sign legalization into law.

Yep, it was a busy week for marijuana enthusiasts in the “Bay State.”

On Monday, a Massachusetts High Court ruled workers couldn’t be fired for using medical marijuana. Then, on Thursday, policymakers in the state legislature sent a revamped version of the voter-passed marijuana legislation to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk for signing.

Anticipated to approve the modified measure, Gov. Baker’s signature will elevate the ballot question’s projected marijuana tax rate, provide joint oversight of both the recreational and medical marijuana programs, and modify how local municipalities can prohibit recreational marijuana stores, according to the Boston Globe.

“The Senate enacted the measure on a 32 -6 vote. On Wednesday, the House voted 136 – 11 to move the bill forward.”

As for working with THC metabolites in your body, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Monday that a female employee who was fired for medicating with medicinal cannabis could sue her former employer.

Sending Christina Barbuto’s case against Advantage Sales and Marketing back to the Massachusetts Superior Court, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court decided that employers could not impose a wholesale anti-marijuana rule against employees who have received a doctor’s recommendation for medicinal cannabis.

Exceptional news for patients in Massachusetts, according to Mass Live, “the ruling affirmatively recognizes a level of work-related protection under state medical marijuana laws.”

Now legal to “fire up” for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Massachusetts, employees will still face serious scrutiny by their employers for any recreational pot use. As the Mass Live post noted, “Workers can still be drug tested and fired for failing a drug test if it is not part of an approved treatment plan for a medical condition.”

Main photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.

3 Comments

  1. It should NOT be permitted for employers to fire or otherwise sanction employees for failing to pass a cannabinoid drug test, in fact, such tests should not be permitted. If an employer cannot tell if an employee is working stoned or not, without testing, there is clearly no need for a test! Employers should be required to judge an employee’s competence by observing his(her) performance! Is that not the bottom line? If an employee is performing adequately, whether he smoked pot last week, last night (or even 10 minutes ago, for that matter) should not be the employer’s business. If an employee is NOT performing well, she can be fired for that. There is no need even to know whether a drug is involved!

  2. The news that “the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Monday that a female employee who was fired for medicating with medicinal cannabis could sue her former employer” is welcome, though that ruling seems like a no-brainer. Why should an employer have a right to fire an emploee for using medicine her doctor recommends? I don’t know whether this woman insisted upon being medicated while at work or not, but in any case, if that woman/employee performs adequately, in her job, what business can that possibly be of the employer? Does he have a right to regulate other drugs? Is he at least as concerned about alcohol? I propose that the only reason most employers have a problem with pot is in their heads, resulting from a lifetime of adverse propaganda. Cannabis use is not usually a problem, especially if used only outside of work, but even if it is needed on a continuous basis, it is perfectly compatable with most kinds of work (a steady user doesn’y get that hogh). If an employing is doing her job, what drug(s) she may be using is nobody’s business but her own.

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