Home Illinois News Federal court rules medical marijuana users can be fired

Federal court rules medical marijuana users can be fired


SPRINGFIELD – Medical marijuana may not be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Illinois many investors banked on it being. There's just not enough legal medical cannabis patrons, a research firm told the Associated Press Monday, and it's partly Governor Rauner's fault.

He's refusing to add more conditions to the list of those that can be treated with cannabis.

But is Rauner being stubborn, or shrewdly holding at bay an avalanche of employee discrimination lawsuits?

Courts are ruling that employees can be legally fired if marijuana is found in drug tests mandated for certain jobs. From the Society for Human Resource Development:

A federal court in New Mexico added to the growing body of U.S. case law holding that employers are under no duty to accommodate medical marijuana use by employees or job applicants, even when state law allows it.

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico dismissed a lawsuit from a newly hired employee who was fired for failing a drug test for marijuana, even though he used marijuana medicinally in accordance with state law.

The decision follows similar cases in California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon and Washington.

The judge's decision ….

Judge William P. Johnson said the case turned on “whether New Mexico’s Compassionate Use Act combined with the New Mexico Human Rights Act provides a cause of action,” while “ever-present in the background of this case is whether the [federal] Controlled Substances Act pre-empts New Mexico state law.” 

The case called on the fired employee's company to be forced to allow his use of medical cannabis. 

“Employers have a duty of care for their employees while in their workplace, and given that substance use, including marijuana, causes increased workplace accidents among other problems, employers have the right to have a drug-free workplace policy and enforce it,” said Laura Shelton, executive director of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, based in Washington, D.C. “The many courts that have consistently upheld this right show its merit.” 

Veterans and medical marijuana proponents are calling for Governor Rauner to add more conditions to those that would allow legal use of cannabis.

The dispensary providers are disappointed that only 4000 patients in Illinois now have access to medical marijuana.


  1. More proof that “A judge is just a law student who grades his own papers.”
    This will eventually be found Unconstitutional in a higher court, but this judge will still be collecting a paycheck and a pension anyway.

  2. No matter what Rauner or the State Assembly does regarding medical marijuana, it is still a federal crime to use or possess it, and within company policy to reject its use.
    If you can’t hold a job and use marijuana, who’s going to pay for free college education for its main proponents?

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