Thirty-three states, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands now have a comprehensive, publicly available medical marijuana program. Medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey since 2010 when Governor Jon Corzine signed the Compassionate Use Act on his very last day in office. This action allowed Justin Wild, who has cancer, to receive a prescription for medical marijuana, which later came to impact his employment status. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in March 2020 that his employer could not dismiss him for failure to pass a drug test due to his medical marijuana use.
Wild was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and now works at a funeral home. In 2016, he was involved in an accident that he claims was not his fault. The doctor who treated him stated that Wild was not under the influence during the accident, but Wild was not tested at that time. After the accident, and after Wild told his employers about his medical marijuana prescription, his boss, David Feeney, said Wild would have to pass a drug test in order to return to work, High Times and NJ.com reported.
The high court in the state upheld an earlier appellate court’s ruling in Wild’s favor, finding that medical marijuana patients are protected by the Law Against Discrimination (LAD).
“In a case such as this, in which the plaintiff alleges that the Compassionate Use Act authorized his use of medical marijuana outside the workplace, that Act’s provisions may be harmonized with the law governing LAD disability discrimination claims,” the court said.
Lawmakers in New Jersey lawmakers recently launched bills to protect marijuana companies and people on workers compensation with medical cannabis prescriptions.