Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled in favor of a woman who was fired for using medical marijuana.

Christina Barbuto only worked one day for a company called Advantage Sales and Marketing in 2014 before she was fired, and she was told she was let go because she tested positive for marijuana use on a drug test. Barbuto uses medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s disease, which is legal under state law, but the company claimed it was following federal law.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed on Monday that a lawsuit she filed against her former employer in 2015 may go forward. The lawsuit claims Barbuto being fired for using medical marijuana on her own time is handicap discrimination.

“I can’t stress this enough, it’s the first case of its kind in the country,” said Dale Deitchler, an expert on marijuana issues in the workplace, told Mass Live. “Massachusetts is not a state where such protections are written in the law so this is really significant… The court created law.”

Many experts are saying this ruling could influence future decisions over how employers treat employees who use medical marijuana for legitimate purposes.

“No one deserves to be fired from their job for cannabis consumption that doesn’t negatively impact their work performance,” Tom Angell, founder of the Marijuana Majority, told The 420 Times. “That’s especially true for medical marijuana patients who rely on this medicine to find relief from serious conditions. Hopefully this ruling is just the first in a series of many benefiting patients in more states.”

After all, why should it be okay for an employer to fire you for the medicine you take at home when you’re not working? Do we fire people for using prescription pain medication in the same way? Furthermore, it’s been proven time and time again drug testing does not increase workplace safety or efficiency, so can’t we just move past this dubious practice?


About The Author

Thor Benson is a traveling writer currently based in Los Angeles. His writing has been featured in Vice, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast and elsewhere. He can be found in a run-down whiskey bar. Follow him on Twitter at: @thor_benson.

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