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New Mexico state employee fired over medical marijuana

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A state employee in New Mexico, one of 16 states that allows doctors to recommend marijuana for medical uses, told local media that she was fired after a drug test revealed that she’d been following her doctor’s orders to treat post traumatic stress disorder.

The woman told local reporters she never came to work impaired and “was just looking for relief” from her symptoms. “I just wanted to be able to get up and live my life the way I used to.”

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Her co-workers at the State Personnel Office allegedly spotted her with red, watery eyes. Even though she claimed to have been up all night with a sick child, management asked her to take a drug test. She was fired when the results came in.

While she wasn’t named in the story, the woman may ultimately be forced to come forward if the state successfully challenges her unemployment benefits. Her attorney, Justin Pennington, said it was a clear case of medical discrimination and that he’s preparing to file a wrongful termination suit in response.

Uneven laws pertaining to medical marijuana have plagued many states since people began coming around on the issue of medical freedom. Even in California, many employers still test for marijuana, legal or not, and people lose their jobs. Same is true in Washington. And in Arizona, employers even have access to a database of all the state’s registered marijuana users, just to make sure nobody’s cheating.

Unfortunately for the nameless former New Mexico state employee, in most cases of termination over medical marijuana use, courts have almost always come down on the side of the employer. Added, New Mexico has “at will” employment laws, meaning her bosses could have given any reason or none whatsoever and still been in the clear.

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This video was published by Eyewitness News 4 KOB in New Mexico on Monday, August 20, 2012.


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Photo: Medical marijuana via Andre Blais / Shutterstock.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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