Monday, November 15, 2010

What Do You Think About This?

Sued for firing worker on medical marijuana, Walmart argues Michigan's law wasn't meant to regulate business

GRAND RAPIDS -- Joseph Casias, who suffers an inoperable brain tumor, is the kind of patient voters had in mind in approving medical-marijuana use.

His firing at Walmart, after a positive drug test, undermines the law -- and forces people like Casias "to choose between their jobs and their medicine," Scott Michelman, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said Friday.


There's a lot here.

What do you think about medical marijuana in general?

What about the state v the federal government? Is this a case of state's rights in which the Michigan law trumps federal law via the 10th Amendment to the Constitution?

Does a business have a right to regulate drug use by it's employees? What if their policy prohibits use that is legal?

What are your thoughts?


Mustang said...

You do pose interesting questions. I think employers regulate employee behavior all the time. I know that employers fire people when convicted of DUI. I know that employees are fired for larceny and theft. I know that employees are “sent home” when they are dressed inappropriately. So this is not a new thing, but the question is should business regulate the behavior of employees vis-à-vis marijuana use. Well, I wouldn’t want a stoned employee working for me. The risks to that person’s safety and that of customers is far too high.

cube said...

Alcohol is legal yet employers regulate its use by its employees amd rightly so. I wouldn't want someone working for me while intoxicated with any substance, legal or not. The safety reasons alone would be worrisome for any employer.

That said, merely testing positive on a drug test doesn't necessarily equate to intoxication. Was the man able to do his job? How was he able to
work with a brain tumor?

Very interesting post, Chuck. Much food for thought.

Ticker said...

Employer regulation of drugs is a no brainier. Of course they have the right to regulate the use of ILLEGAL drugs not drugs duly prescribed by a doctor. Alcohol is not in the discussion here so don't come back on that as being a drug.
Medicinal marijuana does not "get one stoned" if taken as prescribed. I have seen patients on Medical Marijuana and they are no more effected than those who are taking high dosage(800mgX2 which I have taken a long time) of Aspirin, Tylenol etc.

Cube many people work with illnesses much worse than brain tumors and are effective.

DaBlade said...

I always thought that you had to be stoned to work there. Just kidding! I love me the Wal Marks, especially when taking into account my current budget. If there is one thing we all can agree on, it's that Judge Jonker belongs on the all-star team of judge's names. I'll bet he's hiding a bonger under that robe.

Chuck said...

One thing I don't want to lose sight of is that this man has a brain tumor. I give him considerable credit to continue to work and live his life as best as possible and wish him all of the luck in the world on his health issues.

I just thought the case itself was an interesting topic for discussion.

While I voted against the law and do not support it's use, I am also not entirely against it. We already use far worse and much more addictive drugs routinely in health care.

Chuck said...

Mustang, I have always wondered if an employer should hold someone accountable for actions outside of work (if they have no effect on work at all). An example would be marijuana. I do not support the use of it and voted against Michigan's law legalizing it for medical use but again, if it does not involve work, I don't know.

Cube, agreed. Basically what I was saying above with Mustang. One thing that was interesting was that they tested after an incident at work. Not sure what that was about.

Ticker, I wonder if it is a employers place to regulate the use of drugs illegal or not. Obviously they have an interest, and a good one, for what an employee does at work but outside of work?

DaBlade, funny. I would think one would need to be stoned to tolerate the way they treat their employees.

Chuck said...

One question remains though, does anyone have any thoughts on the states rights issue? I think this is going to be a big part of the actual case.

Ticker said...

I am not for the use of drugs period but what an employee does on their off time is none of the employers business.

I had to think and do a lot of study and research on medicinal use of MJ but have come to the conclusion that when properly supervised, not just given for such trivialities as ingrown toenails, and hangnails it can be a great use to those who are in need of medication that normal meds do not provide. I have also discovered that MJ does not have the negative effects that so many drugs on the market today have. For example it has been found that MJ has a very positive effect on RA and Psoriatic Arthritis where as the commonly used drugs such as Remicaide, Humeria and methotrexate have some very bad side effects. The inflammation is reduced greatly which is after all the general purpose of the above mentioned drugs. I for one have always been against MJ period. That came from an experience in Nam which is another story and I won't go into it. However at this point I most certainly would consider using MJ as a medical use for the conditions mentioned of which I have both and then a few added to that which the MJ has been found to be extremely successful in relieving not only the pain but the advancement of damage. By stopping the inflammation the damage can be reversed as is done with the conventional meds which I take. However the side effects are horrendous. I can testify to that fact. So sometimes Chuck we have to rethink our position on what was once considered a recreational drug and now can bring benefits to many. Oh and may I add the cost is so much more affordable. My meds, if I had to purchase them outright would be over $6000 per month. How many can afford that? Think about it!

Karen Howes said...

I'm not sure how I feel about marijuana being used medicinally, but if its use IS legal, then WalMart shouldn't fire him just for that.

But then I despise WalMart almost as much as I do the Obama administration... same basic mode of operation, just in the private sector.

Z said...

Chuck, your comment is important....we can't lose sight of the fact this guy's suffering and needs to work and pot helps his nausea, right?
I wonder why they can't make a pill that fights nausea (Compazine?) as well as marijuana..that always makes me feel there's another agenda to the Medical Marijuana advocates.
I wouldn't want someone who's loaded working for me, I have to admit.

Z said...

Ticker, thank you for your service and I'm sorry you need those meds.

I agree that nothing anybody does on their own time is any of his employer's business.

Chuck said...

Ticker, I am not entirely against the use of medicinal marijuana. I am not ready to jump on it but if it's used, so be it. I have heard arguments from physicians though that there are better drugs for most, if not all, ailments. As far as side effects, smoking marijuana carries some of the same respiratory and cardiac risks that smoking cigarettes do.

I have always wondered why we are not isolating THC to use in pill form. We do this with opiates instead of having people inject heroin.

Karen, I think the case Walmart is making is that it is illegal federally and therefore not legal in the states that have legalized it.

While I am not sure I support this position, it is interesting that the Obama administration sued Arizona for passing an immigration law that contradicts (although it doesn't) federal law but is not suing states like Michigan and California for passing state laws that contradict the federal drug laws.


that always makes me feel there's another agenda to the Medical Marijuana advocates.

This is kind of where I'm at. If it helps someone that is dying then for God's sake let them have it, even if it's only a placebo effect. I can't help but notice though that not very long after they passed a medical marijuana law in California they set out to pass a law legalizing it for recreational use.

Michigan tried to pass a medical marijuana law a few years ago, before we passed it last year. A highly respected pain doctor here in West Michigan wrote an op/ed in the Grand Rapids Press saying that the use of marijuana for pain control represented a failure of pain management. He said there were far better drugs to use, not just the typical opiates but also anti-depressants, muscle relaxers, etc. He said it's efficacy as a pain medicine was not very high.

cube said...

Ticker: You mentioned that medicinal MJ doesn't get one stoned if used as prescribed. I'm not being facetious, but just curious about how that works.

Ticker said...

Chuck, first most medicinal MJ is not smoked it is taken by capsule.

Cube one of the reasons is ingestion of the med by capsule rather than smoking it which allows it to get into the system much faster.(this is explained further on) **Capsules can slow the process and while it does reach the brain the effect is much less than smoking.** No damage to the lung tissue by ingesting and it does not destroy the stomach tissue(lining) as so many of the pain killers which contain aspirin or some such do. I must add that the capsules prescribed are a genetically produced type of MJ. The major drawback on that is cost which is around $12 each.
**Homemade capsules are available in the "stores" but the side effects are sometimes stronger than smoking. IE, you can get higher since the liver metabolizes all the chemicals in the MJ and not just the THC.**
So there is my limited knowledge of medicinal usage of MJ. I do know that if it were available here today, right at this moment , I would take it. But it's not so I will take a combination of pain killers for now and hope for the best when I wake up again in an hour or so.

Someone asked about using compazine:
When Compazine is used with cancer chemotherapeutic drugs, vomiting as a sign of the toxicity of these agents may be obscured by the antiemetic effect of Compazine

For a host more of the side effects read this:

cube said...

Ticker: Thanks for the info. I live and learn.