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Medical Marijuana Basis For Discrimination Lawsuit


Medical Marijuana Basis For Lawsuit

Medical Marijuana is now a  basis for a discrimination lawsuit.  New Mexico issued a very bad ruling last year that required an employer in the state to pay for a claimant’s marijuana prescription.  This broke through an important barrier where marijuana is accepted as a prescription by the Workers Compensation community.

Picture Of Medical Marijuana Leaves
Wikimedia Commons – United States Fish and Wildlife Service

One had to wonder how long before someone alleges hiring discrimination due to the use of medical marijuana.  Actually, lawsuits have been previously filed in other states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

The two differences with this legal action are the state is Rhode Island and the job applicant was a graduate student pursuing an internship.

According to ABC News, a textile company had refused to hire a graduate student for a two-month internship because she uses medical marijuana to treat frequent and debilitating migraine headaches, a decision her lawyer calls discrimination.

The applicant admitted to the textile company’s human resources department that she had a medical marijuana license.  No drug test was ever administered.   The company decided not to offer the internship specifically due to the marijuana issue.

The textile company may have been better served by using another reason to not allow the graduate student to begin her internship.

Medical marijuana will be a popular topic with Workers Compensation over the next few years as more states legalize its use.  It is still considered a controlled substance by the Feds and is still a Schedule I drug as listed by the FDA.

2020 Update on Medical Cannabis

Recreational marijuana legalization will likely create more instances of lawsuits due to discrimination for terminating an employee who has tested positive for THC.    THC stays in a person’s system for up to two weeks.  THC is a highly-fat soluble chemical that stores in fat cells for weeks if not months.

The recreational marijuana enforcement by employers may be worse than the “old days” of being concerned with only medical marijuana.


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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