In a recent federal ruling out of Connecticut, a judge decided that a nurse who had a job offer rescinded after testing positive for THC was discriminated against per Connecticut medical marijuana state law. The ruling is unique at the federal level as most medical marijuana consumption discrimination suits have sided with current federal laws which allows employers to turn away applicants, and let current employees go, should they test positive for THC for any reason. However, according to the Bar Association, trends towards lawsuits concerning medical marijuana patients being discriminated against by employers are heading more in the direction of state law rather than federal law.
There are only 9 states in total around the country that currently prohibit employer discrimination towards medical marijuana patients and Connecticut is one of them. Recent lawsuits in Massachusetts and Rhode Island also fell in favor of individuals applying for jobs that admitted to being medical marijuana patients but still did not receive employment due to failed drug tests for THC. Nevada does not prohibit employers from discriminating against medical marijuana patients but a number of cases in the Las Vegas area have gone in favor of employees that are medical marijuana patients. NRS 453A.800 is the provision in Nevada state law that outlines the rights of medical marijuana patients, and specifically, NRS 453A.800 is the section that speaks to employment of medical marijuana patients.
The American Bar Association called the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island cases “an emerging trend in employment litigation” and cautioned employers to consider state medical marijuana laws when analyzing their drug use and testing policies.
Las Vegas medical marijuana patients are increasingly perplexed by their employment rights considering Las Vegas is quickly becoming one of the main hubs for recreational marijuana consumption throughout the United. States. After the commercial sale of recreational marijuana started on July 1st of 2018, marijuana’s popularity in Las Vegas has skyrocketed as shown be the ever increasing amount of tax revenue Nevada is getting from marijuana sales. A state that is both embracing and financially benefiting from the sale of adult-use marijuana should arguably be the most relaxed about employees consuming marijuana. There are a lot of jobs to be had in Las Vegas, but people are still unclear about the the MGM drug policy or that of the myriad of casinos in Las Vegas that hire many servers, dealers, janitors, etc.
“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, a pro-marijuana group.
Caesars Palace has relaxed its polices towards employing cannabis consumers so why should MGM drug test employees for marijuana consumption especially if it happens during off hours. It is understandable that any employer would rather not have employees under the psychoactive effects of cannabis while at work, especially if that job involves some level of critical thinking and awareness. But policies nationwide may be changing for medical marijuana patients that are using cannabis to allow them to function normally and perhaps be even better employees.