Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2007 Offbeat

USA Workers Allowed to Use Marijuana?


At present day it is estimated that about 300,000 people in the USA smoke marijuana for medical purposes, according to ASA data on registered users. The list of states that allow marijuana use continues to grow. In April, New Mexico joined the list of 11 states allowing marijuana treatment.

The issue is rarely aroused in court, however more and more employers feel concerned about a worker smoking marijuana during his working hours. Many companies believe that marijuana use influences employee performance and increases the possibility of accidents at workplace. So they conduct special tests to reveal the drug users. If a worker tests positive for the drug, he gets fired, even in case marijuana smoking is sanctioned by the state for medical treatment.

Naturally, employers wonder whether the state laws sanctioning medical marijuana would protect their interests if a worker who used marijuana to relieve pain injured his co-workers or made a job mistake. It is difficult for example to employ a truck driver smoking marijuana.

Meanwhile, companies in New York and other states that so far prohibit medical marijuana debate over the issue. Employers are looking for clear answers concerning the matter, as they face a lot of uncertainty. The majority of the companies' managers have doubts about clearness of mind of marijuana-smokers. Some employers say they would create flexible working hours schedule for the employed marijuana users. Yet, at present day the states with medical marijuana laws do not ask employers to make any accommodations for using the drug in the workplace. Many employers are not sure whether they can fire or deny people smoking medical marijuana, or whether it is possible to accommodate them by giving permission to use marijuana only at home or in a special smoking room at work.

In some states allowing medical marijuana, patients may take the drug at special dispensaries. Other states provide authorized caregivers who take care of growing a limited number of marijuana. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, there have been cases of patients getting their marijuana on the black market.

Federal law still prohibits marijuana use. Medical marijuana users are usually not prosecuted. However, people authorized by states for growing or using medical marijuana still face the risk of being arrested by federal officials. The law conflict leads to real confusion of people involved in the matter.

Marijuana is used by patients who suffer from AIDS or HIV, cancer, hepatitis C, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Some doctors support medical marijuana to get relief from such symptoms as pain and depression, nausea from their chemotherapy, and loss of appetite. Yet, not all medical organizations approve marijuana as a pain reliever. Some of them warn that the substance is of a very high risk for abuse and its use lacks the necessary safety. Some organizations support the idea the drug has to be studied thoroughly for revealing its influence on patients.

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52 votes

//2 Oct 06, 2010 02:04 PM | posted by: guillermo
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55 votes

//1 May 23, 2008 11:02 PM | posted by: rhondaspok [InfoKID]

well, it seems to me if our human bodies come with cannabanoid receptors... and they do) then there must be a reason. Medical marijuana definitely has its place. I have personally seen very ill people who when they are on their "regular" medications: Oxycontins, Morphine patches, high doses of hydrocordone, are pretty pain free, but they are also nodding off wherever they are. They cant drive and they cant function, but they get pain releif.
I have seen these same people off of their prescription meds, after they have ingested medical marijuana. They are calm, smiling, their pain is significantly less and they are able to function almost normally. A great majority of medical marijuana users are not "smoking joints and getting high" a lot of them use vaporizers to ingest the marijuana, so they get the medicine but not the smoke to their luungs. Tinctures are made, topical ointments, and many, many food products are made with medical marijuana in them. Here in Washington State the legislative body assigned the task of how much marijuana could be considered a reasonable monthly amount for patients to the Department of Health. They have had various workshops, etc. here in Washington State and sent the preliminary report to Governor Gregoire. She is noe asking for input from law enforcement which shows she is indecisive and is unsure of what she is supposed to be doing. The governor should and did get reports through the department of health, which was asked for. Asking for input from law enforcement is ludacris, my Doctor doesn't have to check with the cops to prescribe me something, or have them looking over his shoulder trying to decide how much I should have with any other medication. This governor doesnt have the courage of her own convictions and she is not listening to what the people of Washington voted for. She signed the bill herself for goodness sake! Governor Gregoire will be voted out and hopefully we get a new govewrnor who has some real courage to go to bat for patients who are terminally ill.

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