New Jersey Medical Marijuana Patients Win Protections for Drug Tests
A state appeals court has ruled that New Jersey workers can’t be fired if they fail a drug test because they are a medical marijuana patient. The appeal means that as long as patients are not under the influence at work, they are protected by the state law against discrimination.
“The sweeping effect is you can no longer say, ‘You (tested) positive — you are outta here,’ ” said Maxine “Mickey” Neuhauser, an employment expert with the Newark office of the Epstein Becker and Green national law firm.
The state appellate decision is based on a lawsuit filed by Justin Wild, a man diagnosed with cancer who was fired from his director’s job at the Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood in 2016 after he was injured in a car accident. Wild did not report to his employer that he was a patient of medical marijuana. The accident was deemed to not be Wild’s fault, because he was not high at the time.
This is not the first instance of New Jersey judges recognizing the right of medicinal marijuana patients. Many workers compensation cases have ordered employers to pay for employees hurt on the job who rely on medical marijuana for relief.