It’s legal in New Jersey to use marijuana for prescribed medical reasons. Many of the state’s employers use drug testing to screen job applicants and terminate employees. A recent NJ court decision sheds much needed light on this developing area of law.
There are about 45,000 registered patients in the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the state Department of Health, with about 2,000 joining every month, reports NJ.com. A state appellate court decision in March opened the door to applicants and employees fighting adverse employment decisions by employers due to medical marijuana use.
Justin Wild, 41, who was approved for marijuana use after being diagnosed with cancer, was fired from his director’s job at the Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood in 2016. He failed to inform his employer he was enrolled in the medicinal marijuana program until after he was injured in an on-the-job car accident and was hospitalized. The doctor who saw him at a hospital emergency department stated he didn’t appear intoxicated and didn’t have a blood test done.
Wild’s boss insisted he get a drug test before being cleared to return to work. After testing positive for marijuana, Wild was fired. He sued for disability discrimination and lost his case at the state Superior Court level. The trial judge reasoned the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, which created the state’s medical marijuana program, didn’t require workplace accommodations, unlike other physical and medical conditions, so Wild could be fired.