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ACLU Appeals Dismissal of Wal-Mart Medical Marijuana Case

ACLU Appeals Dismissal of Wal-Mart Medical Marijuana Case

Last week the American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal appeals court to reinstate a 2010 lawsuit involving the wrongful termination of Wal-Mart employee Joseph Casias.  Casias had been fired for legally using medical marijuana, but because Wal-Mart bans the use of any drugs he lost his job.

Casias suffers from sinus cancer and, at the time of his suit, had a brain tumor in the back of his head and neck that was the size of a softball.  HIs conditions requires extensive chemotherapy treatments and, as a result, Casias is in near constant pain.

Despite all these challenges Casias managed to work his way into a managerial position at Wal-Mart and was even recognized in 2008 as the associate of the year at the Battle Creek, Michigan store where he worked.

That same year Michigan voters passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.  Once the law was passed Casias’ oncologist recommended he try marijuana as a way to help him cope with his treatments.

Casias complied with the new state law to gain access to a prescription.  He registered as a medicinal marijuana user and used only in the privacy of his own home.  He never used at work and he never worked high.

Despite the fact that Casias was fully compliant with the law Wal-Mart still fired the father of two after he tested positive for marijuana.  Casias sued, but his case was thrown out because, according to the judge, the law does not mandate that employers like Wal-Mart make accommodations for employees.

The thing is, it does.  The MMMA protectes medical marijuana users from “disciplinary action by a business.”  If an employee like Casias can be fired for legally using a drug like marijuana, why then can’t employees who use Percoset or other legally prescribed narcotics?  The question may be a bit cheeky, but it gets to the central problem with throwing out Casias’ case and with the prohibition efforts surrounding marijuana in general.

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photo courtesy of Neeta Lind via Flickr

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58 comments

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6:45PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Walmart are monsters, next they'll fire people for using Vicodin after root canals.

5:42PM PDT on May 6, 2011

I hope Joseph tries again to sue Walmart if he can. He should be considered handicapped and rehired to be able to take care of his family. Medical Marijuana does work, and he should never have been fired due to his choice of medications, which again works.

1:38PM PDT on May 5, 2011

How short sighted can you be! And cruel!
I hope Walmart gets sued for this

7:45PM PDT on May 4, 2011

I've known 2 very very close ppl 2 myself who had cancer, 1, my grandfather, is dead, the cancer ravished his entire body & he died 1 of the most horrible deaths I could ever imagine. The other is still alive, barely, but he is...he smokes weed (alot of it), it allows him to work a couple hrs a week, eat a small meal a day, & NOT blow his head off, sort of a miserable existence but were it not for the marijuana, IF he was alive-which I doubt b/c he cant eat otherwise-it would be far more miserable. I also know a couple ppl who use it for anxiety..ever read the possible side effects on shit like Valium or Xanax?? HELL no! I dont blame them. I'm not saying hand it out to everyone (although I wouldn't be OPPOSED either) but there are alot of really, really scary drugs pot could replace...w/regulations kind of like alcohol I think it could really make a difference for the better. No matter hat ur views, if you've ever known anyone w/cancer, particularly if like me you've known 2, 1 that smokes while the other doesn't, u look at me (or THEM!) & tell them that there's nothing that can help, even a little, besides the gobbledigook they give them..basically pickling them. But that's why it'll never fly, our government makes BIG bucks while KILLING us off at the same time. "THANKS GOV!" lol

11:15AM PDT on May 4, 2011

If he managed to hold down a job whilst being treated for cancer then he deserves some loyalty from Wal-Mart.Some people can't hold down a job full stop.

8:56AM PDT on May 4, 2011

So ridiculous and unnecessary. When is this country going to wake up and realize the so-called "war" on drugs is doing more harm than good?

2:59AM PDT on May 4, 2011

Walmart should not be blamed entirely! They are following FEDERAL law which still states that marijuana use is illegal. That takes precedence over State law and any doctor's prescription. I know this because I have family members who were also arrested and faced charges even WITH doctor's prescriptions and they were 100% in compliance.

I live in Washington State, and our Governor has just signed a legal "medical marijuana" bill into law, but she vetoed the part about allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to exist. She claims she will NOT subject her cops to violating State laws and they're called on to enforce Federal law when they bust these places! OMG, these laws are so ridiculous and archaic!

11:27PM PDT on May 3, 2011

Oh stories like this are so frustrating. If you have not seen the BC documentary 'The Union' watch it. The amount of propaganda associated with keeping marijuana illegal is sickening. That poor man, just another law abiding citizen getting the shaft.

10:27PM PDT on May 3, 2011

I keep getting more and more reasons not to shop at Walmart.

6:10PM PDT on May 3, 2011

When you have cancer the pain is unbearable and if it helps it should be allowed for medical reasons.So unfair to lose his job & maybe his life as he cant afford his cancer treatments now hes lost his job.

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