ACLU defends cancer patient fired for legal marijuana use

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, April 28, 2011 19:35 EDT
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The American Civil Liberties Union urged a U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to reinstate a lawsuit against Wal-Mart and a manager in Michigan for firing an employee who used medical marijuana in accordance with state law.

Thirty-year-old former Wal-Mart employee Joseph Casias used marijuana to treat the symptoms of an inoperable brain tumor and sinus cancer.

Casias was fired in 2009 after testing positive for marijuana. He had been successfully employed for more than five years by a Wal-Mart in Battle Creek and began using medical marijuana after voters approved the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in 2008.

“This appeal is an important development for patients who use marijuana as prescribed by a doctor in the 15 states and the District of Columbia where laws provide protections for them,” said Kary L. Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. “Patients across the country who rely on this medication for pain relief are watching this case.”

U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker dismissed the lawsuit in February, ruling that Michigan’s law does not mandate that businesses like Wal-Mart accommodate medical marijuana patients.

“This is just an unfortunate situation all around, and we’re sympathetic to Mr. Casias’s condition,” Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said. “Walmart has to consider the overall safety of our customers and our associates, including Mr. Casias.”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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