After Years of Snubbing, Courts Are Starting to Rule in Marijuana Patients’ Favor

Cannabis advocacy groups are feeling encouraged by a recent series of court decisions that ended in favor of marijuana patients who say they were discriminated against by employers.

The decisions include a case out of Connecticut in which a medical marijuana patient was fired from her job at a nursing home after testing positive for pot. Last month, a judge ruled that her employer had violated a provision of the state’s medical cannabis law. Similar cases out of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have also ended in the plaintiffs’ favor.

Marijuana advocates wonder whether the cases signal a turning of the tide. Previously, courts were apt to rule in the employers’ favor. But the culture -- and the laws -- are changing.

“This decision reflects the rapidly changing cultural and legal status of cannabis, and affirms that employers should not be able to discriminate against those who use marijuana responsibly while off the job, in compliance with the laws of their state,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML.

Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and another thirty-one states have legalized medical marijuana. More than a dozen others now allow cannabis oils or other low-THC products for medical purposes.

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