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New Bill Aims to Protect Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Patients

Massachusetts Marijuana Doctors

As of now, Massachusetts medical marijuana patients are not protected when it comes to passing work-related drug tests. The Massachusetts Supreme Court has a case pending that questions just that – should medical marijuana patients be fired for their choice of medicine?

The pending lawsuit comes from a medical marijuana patient who was fired for failing a drug test, according to MassLive. Representative Frank Smizik has introduced H.2385 to directly address this issue. Its language protects medical marijuana patients’ job statuses. If passed, discrimination against medical marijuana patients would be prohibited when it comes to housing, employment, child custody and child welfare.

Nichole Snow of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance said, “Those protections are still not there, and our leaders need to recognize it and do something about it. We’re still dealing with the stigma of using medical marijuana as a treatment plan for severe illness in the state of Massachusetts.”

The bill also expands the caregiver law to allow patients to have two caregivers. Caregivers would also be allowed to have up to five patients. In the last session, a similar bill failed to pass.

Peter Bernard of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council said, “It’s really important for people to remember that medical marijuana is very different from recreational. We need to make sure that legislatively those two worlds are kept separate.”

Representative Denise Provost has introduced a similar bill, H.113 which would include those with disabilities from non-discriminatory actions.

Provost said, “It seems ridiculous to me that we can as a commonwealth authorize the medical use of marijuana and then if someone is indeed using marijuana medically have that result in adverse employment consequences. People can take antidepressants and other mood altering drugs…and presumably you would not be able to fire someone for doing so.”