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Medical Marijuana Case Working its Way up the Judicial Ladder … in Michigan

February 25th, 2011 by josh farley

Turns out Washington’s not the only state where issues over medical marijuana are being litigated. The American Civil Liberties Union earlier this month filed an appeal to a federal judge’s decision to throw out a Michigan case of a medical marijuana patient fired from Wal-Mart for his use of the drug.

In January, we covered our state supreme court’s hearing on a similar case in which a woman was fired from Teletech in East Bremerton for using medical marijuana to relieve migraine headaches. The woman is authorized under law to use medical marijuana.

She sued; her case was thrown out at the county and court of appeals level and it was taken for review by the state’s highest court. We are still awaiting their opinion.

Here’s the press release from the ACLU:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The American Civil Liberties Union today said it will appeal a decision by a federal judge to dismiss its lawsuit filed in June against Wal-Mart and the manager of its Battle Creek, Michigan store for wrongfully firing an employee for using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. The patient, Joseph Casias, used marijuana to treat the painful symptoms of an inoperable brain tumor and cancer.

Michigan voters in 2008 passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which provides protection for the medical use of marijuana under state law. But in a 20-page ruling today, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker said the law doesn’t mandate that businesses like Wal-Mart make accommodations for employees like Casias, the Battle Creek, Michigan Wal-Mart’s 2008 Associate of the Year who was fired from his job at the store for testing positive for marijuana, despite being legally registered to use the drug. In accordance with the law, Casias never ingested marijuana while at work and never worked while under the influence of marijuana.

The ACLU will appeal today’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

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9 Responses to “Medical Marijuana Case Working its Way up the Judicial Ladder … in Michigan”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    How could Casias test positive and not be under the influence? He most certainly must have worked while under the influence of marijuana if it was still in his system.

    As an employer, I would not want anyone working while under the influence – medical or otherwise.
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Connect 4and20 Says:

    Sorry Shannon but you are very wrong. When someone fails a drug test for marijuana it does not mean they were under the influence of the plant, it only shows that they have used the plant in up to the last 90 days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_test

  3. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Sharon THC actually lasts longer in the system then many hard drugs . I know it sounds strange . But I believe it has something to do with the way it attatches to the fat cells or something like that .

  4. Sharon OHara Says:

    Mick – Okay. We know drugs interact with the brain. If residue from any drug shows up still in the body – somewhere – wouldn’t that mean some measure of drug influence is still in the brain – somewhere?
    Sharon

  5. luckysevans Says:

    Urine tests detect non-psychoactive marijuana metabolites for days to weeks after use, long after impairment has passed.

    “The most popular kind of drug test is the urine test, which can detect marijuana for days or weeks after use. Note that urine tests do not detect the psychoactive component in marijuana, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), and therefore in no way measure impairment; rather, they detect the non-psychoactive marijuana metabolite THC-COOH, which can linger in the body for days and weeks with no impairing effects. Because of THC-COOH’s unusually long elimination time, urine tests are more sensitive to marijuana than other commonly used drugs. According to a survey by Quest Diagnostics, 50% of all drug test positives are for marijuana.”

    http://www.canorml.org/healthfacts/drugtestguide/drugtestdetection.html

  6. Mick Sheldon Says:

    I think there have been studies indicating that . Causing short term memory loss and such . Not sure how conclusive they were. The drug culture has gotten so bad that other drugs have takn the attenton off pot .

  7. Sharon OHara Says:

    “When someone fails a drug test for marijuana it does not mean they were under the influence of the plant, it only shows that they have used the plant in up to the last 90 days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_test…”

    In that case: What determines the person who failed the drug test was NOT under the influence?

    As an employer, I would want the employee’s mind unclouded by drugs…if a drug test doesn’t prove they are drug free – what does prove it?
    Sharon O’Hara

  8. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Good point , there really is no way of knowing. In my job you would be fired on the spot.

    Which I think is the problem with medical marijuana . In California it was very abused and the reasons for having a prescription were bogus.

  9. James D. Slocum Says:

    People are going to use the drug of their choice. Mostly the reasoning for the choice is cost. I have never taken Ice but in comparison and longevity of Ice, it is cheaper than marijuana. Marijuana cost approx. $20.00 a gram or $560.00 an ounce at these new despensaries.
    Marijuana is a fat soluable drug meaning it is stored in fat cells and not water cells as most drugs. This results in testing marijuana with a cell longevity of approx 30-90 days depending on the test used. Cocaine, PCP, Heroin, Vicodin, Codine, Oxy/Hydrocodone and alcohol are stored in water cells being excreated in usually 72 hours after ingestion. The mind altering effect of marijuana last less than 12 hours. How long does a hangover last?
    The US Goverment allows the sales of Fentanyl and Oxcodone both of which are stronger than Heroin and you do not have be terminal to receive these drugs. These drugs are for chronic pain. I have worked as a Registered Nurse in an Emergency department for over 2 years and have yet seen a death from marijuana. I have seen death from Acetaminophen causing cirrohis of the liver and alcohol the worst of them all effects almost ever organ of the body. The worst effect of alcohol in this authors opinion is POOR judgement.
    Finally, shame on WalMart for not a lack of compassion for the young brain cancer patient. WalMart showed NO COMPASSION what so ever. I for one am going to boycot WalMart and again shame on WalMart and their lack of concern for this youngan who will probably never reach adulthood

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