A Battle Creek, Michigan man who was fired a year ago for legally using medical marijuana is fighting Wal-Mart’s attempt to move his lawsuit to federal court.
A federal judge on Friday will hear arguments in the lawsuit of Joseph Casias, reports the Battle Creek Enquirer. Casias, a 30-year-old cancer patient and former Employee of the Year, was fired by Wal-Mart after a routine drug screen found he had used cannabis.
Casias was legally registered in Michigan to use marijuana to treat pain.
Casias, 30, did not use marijuana at work or work under the influence, his attorneys said.
Casias’s attorneys will ask the court to deny a motion filed by Wal-Mart seeking dismissal of the case and reject the mega-corporation’s attempt to have the case tried in federal court instead of state court.
The case was originally filed in Calhoun County Circuit Court in June.
|Joseph Casias: “They threw me away after all I did”|
After dutifully working at a Wal-Mart in Battle Creek, Michigan, for five years, Casias was suddenly terminated because he tested positive for marijuana during a drug screening administered after he sprained a knee on the job.
Casias, who was named store Associate of the Year in 2008, is a registered medical marijuana patient in Michigan, where it is legal to use medical cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation.
“It’s despicable that Wal-Mart would fire such a hardworking and seriously ill employee simply for treating his symptoms with a medicine that he is authorized to use under state law,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project.
“Would Wal-Mart also fire someone for taking doctor-prescribed Percocet, or any of the other legal medications sold in many of WalMart’s own stores?” O’Keefe asked.
Casias’s firing violates the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which reads in part that a qualifying patient shall not be “denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to … disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board of bureau, for the medical use of marihuana.”
Under the law, the definition of “medical use” contains “internal possession” — having marijuana in one’s system.
Scott Michelman of the American Civil Liberties Union Criminal Law Reform Project; Daniel Grow, an attorney based in St. Joseph, Mich.; and Kary Moss, Michael Steinberg and Dan Korobkin of the ACLU of Michigan are the legal team representing Casias.