Medicinal cannabis has been a controversial topic for some time. Though in the state of Washington, it's been gaining more and more momentum towards legalization and social responsibility. Most wa-voters have made it clear that they want to see safe access for patients who need it, and they don't want to see patients lose their jobs for their choice of a safer alternative to the poisons we know as pharmaceuticals.
This is part of what makes Roe Vs. TeleTech, such a special case. The ruling of the Washington Supreme court will set a precedent for future career disputes in our state. At least until new laws are written.
If the court declares that a legal patients at home use of medicinal cannabis, does not violate "drug-free" work place standards and that Wa state patients are allowed protections from such prejudices, then it will protect the jobs of hundreds of patients in our state, who can't afford to lose their jobs.
However.... if the court rules that there are no state protections for patients, and that it is perfectly fine for a company to fire a medicinal patient, then there could be job losses seen all over the state. It would set the stage for extreme prejudices from employers, worse then what we are already seeing.
On top of this, it could also show many of the state dispensaries and providers that the state is not willing to state up for it's constituents, and bring much upheaval in the states battle to collect retail taxes from them. One of the main concerns I hear from these places, is that they are willing to pay the taxes, but that they want state protection if they are going to pay so much more.
So far, both the ACLU and the Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC), have joined together with Roe, to try and prove that there is no justification in firing an employee who legally attained their patient status under our current medicinal cannabis laws. Their position, is that a patients private and doctor approved usage of medicinal cannabis, is not the concern of employers. So long as an employee is not working a job that includes public safety, and the use of medicinal cannabis does not effect work performance, then it should be no different then being prescribed pain killers or psychological pharma for medical ailments.
I personally feel that TeleTech has set themselves up to be an example for the rest of the state. They originally hired Jane Roe with the full and complete awareness that she is a medicinal cannabis patient, and hired her anyways. It was not until she was asked to submit to a drug-screening, that they terminated her employment as a customer service phone representative. When the test came back positive for THC, they said, "I'm sorry, we've changed our minds! No THC allowed!"
They might have been free and clear if they had turned her away for employment in the first place, making a clear statement that they did not condone the use of cannabis, medical or otherwise, in their work place. However, since they hired her anyways, does this not suggest that they didn't have a problem with her medicinal use that was authorized by her doctor?
TeleTech has got themselves into quiet a mess. Thankfully, Jane Roe and her team are not just going to sit back and take it, and will push the issue as far as it will go. From here, we will see precedents set. The court date is set for today, Jan 18th 2011. I am hoping for good news to come out of those court rooms soon.