BOSTON: Massachusetts’ Supreme Court has ruled that an employer cannot fire an employee for using Medical Marijuana, and can sue under “handicap discrimination” statues.
Advantage Sales and Marketing of Foxborough fired Christina Barbuto after she tested positive after her first day at work.
The company has more than 120 locations across the country and cited Federal Drug law, which considers marijuana illegal.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the company’s action and said Barbuto could sue under handicap discrimination statues.
Medical Marijuana as well as recreational use of marijuana are both permitted under Massachusetts' law.
Barbuto had been prescribed the Medical Marijuana to treat her “low appetite” as a result of having Crohn’s disease. Barbuto claimed that she has been able to stabilize her weight as a result of utilizing the drug.
Massachusetts Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote, "an exception to an employer's drug policy to permit its use is a facially reasonable accommodation ."
He added, in what could be a harbinger of future litigation, "the fact that the employee's possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation," Gants wrote.