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State Court To Rule on Employees' Rights


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California - The California Supreme Court is expected to rule for the first time Thursday on whether the state's 12-year-old medical marijuana law shields users from not only police and prosecutors, but also prospective employers looking to fire over positive drug tests.

The court's opinion, scheduled to be released at 10 a.m., will center on a discrimination claim by Carmichael resident Gary Ross over his 2001 firing from Sacramento telecommunications firm RagingWire. It could either uphold users' rights, affirm employers' discretion or leave the labor rights question to be answered by lawmakers or voters.

Whatever the outcome, legal observers and activists say the Supreme Court's decision could have far reaching implications beyond California, potentially affecting cases in many of the 11 other states with medical marijuana laws modeled after California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

"It's extremely significant; it's probably not only the most important medical marijuana case in California, but in the nation right now," Kris Hermes of the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access told The Bee after the Ross case was heard before the state Supreme Court last fall.

At the hearing in November, Ross' attorneys Stewart Katz of Sacramento and Joseph Elford of San Francisco told six of the seven justices present that the Fair Employment and Housing Act requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations" for workers who have disabilities. They said that Ross' use of marijuana was part of a medical treatment for a disability.

Complete Title: State Court To Rule on Employees' Rights Under Medical Marijuana Law

Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Sacramento Bee
Contact: opinion@sacbee.com
Website: Northern California local news and information from The Sacramento Bee - sacbee.com


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Medical marijuana users can be fired: Calif. court
By Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Companies can fire employees who use marijuana for medical reasons even if California law allows such use because federal law prohibits it, the state's Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

"Under California law, an employer may require preemployment drug tests and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions," Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote.

The court's 5-2 decision is another blow to advocates of so-called medical marijuana.

In March last year, a federal court based in San Francisco said a California woman with an inoperable brain tumor had no fundamental right to marijuana for medical purposes.

Such rulings have confirmed that federal law governs when there are clashes with state law. California voters backed an initiative in 1996 allowing the smoking of marijuana for medical purposes -- a use barred by federal law.

"No state law could completely legalize marijuana for medical purposes because the drug remains illegal under federal law," Werdegar wrote.

In the latest case, Gary Ross said he began using marijuana in 1999 on a doctor's recommendation because of back pain.

Ross said that after he was offered a job at a company in 2001, he took and failed a drug test and was fired. He sued the company, privately held RagingWire Telecommunications, because he said it failed to make reasonable accommodation for his disability.

Continued... Medical marijuana users can be fired: Calif. court | Health | Reuters


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Another thing we must change in the U.S. other than how we elect leaders, is how we place Judges, and for how long. We pretty much have to wait for these ignorant assholes to die before we can hope to get someone with a brain to replace them. They are political appointments by the Executive Branch (In many cases). This allows the Executive Branch to extend it's arm into the Judicial branch and this is inherently unconstitutional. The system is designed for each branch to check and balance the other. Since the Bush presidency, this is completely gone.
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