Medical marijuana use could impact your employment in Massachusetts


NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – In recent months, Massachusetts has shifted focus from medical marijuana to legal recreational pot, but there’s still confusion regarding medical marijuana in the workplace.

On Monday, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a woman can sue her former employer after she said she was fired for legally using marijuana to treat her Crohn’s Disease.

Christina Barbuto claims company officials said her medical marijuana use wouldn’t be a problem, but she was fired the day after she tested positive for the drug.

According to research done by the Medical Marijuana Project, more than 30,000 people in Massachusetts are medical marijuana patients, which means any number of them could be at risk for losing their job.

Lenore Bryck of Amherst said, “I think there is still a lot of confusion on all parts; consumers, patients, lawmakers.”

A Massachusetts resident can legally register as a medical marijuana patient if a doctor certifies they suffer from a long list of chronic conditions. Patients can purchase medical marijuana from registered dispensaries, or grow it themselves.

Judith Martinez of Florence said “The problem is just to have a limit, just like drinking alcohol. You don’t want to drink alcohol and get drunk, especially in a place of employment.”

Under the S.J.C. ruling, employers cannot enforce anti-marijuana policies against workers whose doctors have prescribed the drug to treat their illnesses.

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