Medical marijuana is in the news for a variety of reasons.
On the legal front, the primary issue is that the federal government classifies marijuana as a controlled substance while 20 states have passed laws allowing its use for medical reasons. President Obama’s spokesperson said recently that the President “does not, at this point, advocate a change in the law,” which means that a federalism battle looms on numerous fronts.
A federal district court in Colorado held recently that an employer lawfully terminated an employee licensed to use marijuana because he tested positive for marijuana. The court rejected claims that such termination invaded the plaintiff’s privacy, or violated Colorado’s laws prohibiting discrimination based on disability or based on an employee’s engaging in lawful activities off the employer’s premises. Curry v. Millercoors, Inc. (D.Co. August 21, 2013). This opinion is consistent with state court decisions in Colorado and California, which we have posted about previously.
Also, Connecticut is close to adopting regulations to implement its new medical marijuana law. The Department of Consumer Protection has amended its initial draft regulations and they are likely to be submitted for final review soon.
The Connecticut Office of Legislative Research has issued a report comparing the Connecticut, California, Colorado and Washington medical marijuana programs. Among its findings is that as of July 5, 2013, 735 patients have registered to use medical marijuana in Connecticut. Almost 30% (212) list post traumatic stress disorder as the primary qualifying condition, followed by spinal cord damage (192), and multiple sclerosis (141). The average patient’s age is 42.8 years; approximately 75% of registrants are male. In Colorado, of the 105,000 registered users, the average age is 42; approximately two-thirds are male.
Finally, there is no shortage of companies interested in growing marijuana. The Boston Globe reports that over 180 applicants will be vying for the 35 dispensary licenses in Massachusetts.