Marijuana: Sackings for legal pot backed by judgment against fired man with brain tumor

Categories: Marijuana, News

Photos, video below.
There's been lotsa debate over just-passed marijuana bills. But lost amid talk about THC driving limits that may prevent MMJ patients like William Breathes from driving legally and a provision that treats pot mags like porn is the impact of marijuana retail on employees and employers. Rulings that support the firing of MMJ patients who test positive for drugs (including Joseph Casias, seen here, who used weed to treat an inoperable brain tumor) would seem to give companies the upper hand. But one report suggests they're still worried about rules involving legal cannabis.

The recent Fortune piece "Smoking 'legalized' marijuana can still get you fired" features a case about which we've written a number of times in recent years. It involves paralyzed medical marijuana patient Brandon Coats, who was canned by DISH after failing a drug test even though the company stipulated that he'd never come to work under the influence of cannabis.

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Attorney Michael Evans with Brandon Coats at DISH.
Coats lost his latest round at the Colorado Court of Appeals, but his attorney plans to take the matter up at the Colorado Supreme Court.

Also noted by Fortune is an equally shocking case, this one out of Michigan. In that instance, the aforementioned Joseph Casias was fired by Wal-Mart for using cannabis to treat an inoperable brain tumor at a doctor's recommendation. According to the September 2012 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Wal-Mart (read it below in its entirety), Casias was diagnosed with sinus cancer when he was seventeen, and during the five years or so he worked at Wal-Mart, he suffered from pain in his head and neck as a result of the growth. After pain medication failed to help him, his oncologist recommended that he try marijuana, and after going through the process to become a legally registered patient, he discovered that the substance provided him with substantial relief. The ruling's narrative adds that he was careful not to use marijuana on the job or come to work under its influence.

Then, in November 2009, he twisted his knee while pushing a cart, and after he was taken to an emergency room by his Wal-Mart manager, he was given a drug test, which he failed due to marijuana lingering in his system -- an attribute of cannabis that concerns patients when it comes to Colorado's new THC driving limits law. As a result, he was fired.

Continue for more about marijuana, employers, employees and Joseph Casias, including a video and a complete court ruling.

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Time for California to Decriminalize, Tax & Regulate Marijuana 

It is time for California to decriminalize, tax and regulate marijuana and decide who sells it, who can buy it legally, and for how much. When California became the first state to approve medical marijuana, we led the nation on progressive drug policies, and now it is time to lead again.

Bolstered by growing public support and building on our initial leadership, Californians must renew our push for common-sense marijuana policy by developing a state level regulatory system and lead the national effort to end draconian laws that favor incarceration over education.

In California, San Francisco has taken the lead in reforming ineffective drug laws and changing the conversation around substance use. Medical marijuana laws, marijuana decriminalization, and the efforts to reduce the state's prison population make us a strong voice for change. But it is not enough. We stand at a time where science and common sense must trump age-old fear and propaganda.

San Francisco pioneered and advanced innovative programs to reduce the harms of substance misuse by using alternative adjudicative action, using drug and community courts as an alternative to the traditional criminal court system and sentencing. It involved connecting people to treatment and mental health services, housing and resources for education and training. San Francisco has invested significant local tax dollars in providing substance treatment to those who need it, but San Francisco is just one city -- and it is not enough.

The U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its citizens, with less than 5 percent of the world's population but almost 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. In 2011, 757, 969 people in the United States were arrested for a marijuana law violation and of those, 87 percent were arrested for possession only, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.

I am not advocating for the use of marijuana, but the current laws are stigmatizing and criminalizing millions of Americans young and old. The war on drugs has become a war on society and we can and must do better.

It is time for marijuana to be removed from the federal government's most restrictive category of drugs, where it currently sits alongside heroin. But in the absence of the federal government acting, California must lead again.

In the November 2012 general election, Colorado and Washington became the first states to decriminalize possession and growth of small amounts of marijuana and create a system for taxing and regulating the product for adults over 21. California needs to do the same. Even organizations such as the California Medical Association recognize taxation and regulation as a preferred policy for controlling marijuana.

Marijuana prohibition has caused irreparable harm to millions of people by saddling them with criminal records and the collateral sanctions associated with even marijuana misdemeanors, such as the potential loss of employment, housing, financial aid and child custody. These sanctions and penalties fall disproportionally on African Americans and Latinos, devastating entire communities for generations.

According to the ACLU, African Americans make up 50 percent of the state and local prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes. An African American male is as likely to go to jail or prison, as he is to go to college. African American children are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones -- even though white children are 11 percent more likely to abuse drugs than their African American peers. Locking people up for simple drug possession puts them in a virtually inescapable position for the rest of their lives, making every step to success and self-sufficiency more difficult.

Changing marijuana laws is one important part of shifting the drug policy paradigm from a criminal framework to one of public health. But it is not enough. Decriminalizing marijuana alone will not solve America's problem with mass incarceration.

Forty-two years and $1 trillion later, we recognize the "War on Drugs" has not only failed but also created inter-generational social problems that will likely take as long to solve. There is no reason why California cannot set the example for the nation in responding to drugs in a rational and sensible way. It is time to be bold enough to consider the science and the examples set forth by other states and nations.

The time has come to decriminalize, tax and regulate marijuana -- anything less is not enough.

Gavin Newsom is the lieutenant governor of California and a former mayor of San Francisco. He recently authored "Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government."


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The Sour Diesel was free with a $20 donation for the Dried Worms. Amazingly simple this process we call "We The People". The Sour Diesel was exceptional..and I say "was" because these buds warranted immediate transfer to my 'Stash of 2013" . Makes one wonder who were all these people that voted FOR Amendment 64?

Have you noticed a calm over the city...more people are smiling at each other...yielding the right away during rush hour...fluorescent smiley faces smiling at you around every corner.

No sign twirlers, no dispensaries too close to schools, city planners planning again with dreams of revenue, and the Broncos have a team worth watching again. Colorado has chilled out.


You are going to be able to start a whole new publication FILLED w/ these kind of stories and endless examples of Amd64's absolute FAILURE !


How do you know which Cannabis strain is best for you in the morning when you wake up versus which is best for the evening as you unwind? There's no way around it other than sampling as many Medical Marijuana strains from every Denver dispensary you have the time to visit. It has been the Good Doctor's experience that practically every Denver dispensary has excellent cannabis worth trying.

Of course there will be some cannabis that is better than others and some that is more potent than others but cost less. Since there is no universal scientific Cannabis testing service in the Mile High City who knows WTF is in your Weed. When you find a strain that suits your needs and you are satisfied it is worth the asking price then stock up because when that crop is gone the search starts all over. The more potent the strain the greater the chance that it will last you longer and if others enjoy it as well it may be sold out by your next refill.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Good thing that the incompetent illiterates who wrote and promoted that festering turd A64 didn't bother to actually establish any personal rights to use marijuana ...

... or else suffering victims like these wouldn't be forced to spend $10s of thousands on McLawyers.

Thanks lyin' Brian Vicente and mendacious Mason Tvert!


@Juan_Leg you voted for it.....

The supporters of the amendment should be, and will be held accountable by the very own amendment they voted for.  Oh the irony...


@trav  Actually I didn't . After reading and researching info from people like Hotay, there's no way in hell I would have voted 'Yes' once  re-educated  .

DonkeyHotay topcommenter


*** Regulation Works! ... get REGULATED, bitches! ***



Patricia can slow down on the Valium / Vodka back ......


@DonkeyHotay @Juan_Leg  I'm too crippled for school . I get my knowledge from researching information on my own .

I'm around %95 distrusting EVERYTHING the media releases, which encourages further time 'punching keys' rather than sitting in a classroom or in front of a TV .

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