Yesterday was a great day for people carrying medical marijuana cards. A precedent was set against America’s largest employer for firing a medical cannabis user for testing positive.  Walmart, like many other companies, routinely tests its employees for banned substances.

Unfortunately, people who use marijuana are lumped together with folks using other banned substances  such as cocaine, heroin, etc.  As a result, people  have traditionally been fired from their employment once discovered to be users, even if their work quality wasn’t compromised. That was the situation referenced in the article by Aris Folley that appeared in “The Hill’ yesterday February 13, 2019 “Judge rules against Walmart for firing employee with medical marijuana card”.1

It is important to recognize that this is an Arizona specific matter. While this is outstanding news, the precedent may only hold for states having regulation favoring patient use similar to Arizona’s.

However, something to consider strongly is that Carol Whitmire, the person bringing the action against Walmart, had a valid medical marijuana card at the time. I’m not certain that presiding U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg would have accepted Carol’s argument had she not had a medical card.

There may be a valuable lesson to learn here. If you are employed by a company that tests its employees for banned substances, you might consider weighing the expense of a medical card for the benefit of a defense should you be fired for testing positive against the cost for the card.

There may be other benefits as well in holding a medical marijuana card. In Nevada medical card holders pay 8.25% tax while recreational purchasers pay 18.25% sales. If you spend $1,000 at dispensaries annually as a card holder, the savings in tax will equal the estimated $100 per year cost of the card. There is always a shorter line for medical card holders as well in Las Vegas.

1https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/429822-judge-rules-against-walmart-for-firing-employee-with-medical

 

About Joseph Sameh

Joseph (Joe) Sameh, President of CannaTrials, is a healthcare entrepreneur and recognized industry leader, author, and speaker.  He has more than a decade experience as medical practice manager with a previous 30 year career in computer, telephone, and communications systems. His unique contributions to better patient access in clinical trials, patient recruitment ,and enhanced management of the process, are widely recognized. Among his inventions, Sameh invented what we know of as the patient communications portal in your electronic health record that allows you to communicate with your physician.  Starting a call center for doctors in Chicago, MediConnect evolved to provide services to more than 17,000 physicians nationwide plus the majority of Chicago area hospitals.