In November of 2010, a Michigan Wal-Mart employee, Joseph Casias was terminated based on his failure to pass a routine drug test. Mr. Casias injured his knee at work and based on the company’s policy, he was drug tested. The test came back positive for marijuana use. Mr. Casias informed Wal-Mart that he had a valid state medical marijuana card as he was using marijuana legally to help treat the effects of a brain tumor. Mr. Casias also stated that he never used marijuana while at work or went to work high. In accordance with Wal-Mart’s corporate policies regarding positive drug tests, Mr. Casias was later fired.
Mr. Casias decided to take his case to court and on February 11, 2011, Judge Robert Jonker issued his opinion in Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al (U.S.D.C. – W.D. MI) which basically stated that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA) does not regulate private employment actions and dismissed Mr. Casias’ wrongful discharge suit.
The is a big win for employers as the case defends the use of employment drug testing and the actions that employers take to uphold corporate policies. Currently there are fourteen states that allow, decriminalize, or offer a positive defense for individuals that use marijuana for medical purposes. Michigan is one of the fourteen states. The federal government still defends its position on the use of marijuana, as the drug still remains on the list as a Schedule 1 Drug – A drug that has no accepted medical use and has a high tendency for abuse.
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