New Mexico’s Donna Smith says she was fired illegally for her off-work consumption of medical cannabis to deal with post-traumatic stress she was diagnosed with after serving in the military in the 1990s. New Mexico has laws against discriminating against people for their medical conditions, she argues.
But her employer, Presbyterian Health Services, says they are “protecting” their other employees from Smith and her off-work, medical use of cannabis.
“Presbyterian is committed to patient safety and we believe that a drug free workplace is a key component,” PHS Senior Vice President Joanne Suffis told Bloomberg this week. “The use of medical marijuana is not recognized by federal law and Presbyterian has a mandate under federal law to provide a drug free workplace.”
Of course, they don’t care about how drunk you get while off work – something Smith’s attorney, Jason Flores-Williams, calls “absolute hypocrisy”
So his strategy is to show that his client has been discriminated against because she is using cannabis to treat a condition. It’s a move that has been tried, and failed, before in 2012 when a federal court ruled that the federal American’s with Disabilities Act does not cover illegal drug use. That includes pot as long as the feds view medical cannabis as a farce and all marijuana as an illegal drug more dangerous than cocaine.
“As far as medical patients are concerned, a lot of these people aren’t able to work unless they’re using marijuana–and then they’re prevented from working once they’re using it,” Jessica Gelay, the Drug Policy Alliance’s policy coordinator for New Mexico “As long as they’re not coming to work impaired it should be none of the employer’s business.”