The city of Bridgeport, Connecticut this week agreed to pay a settlement to a former police officer who said he was wrongly suspended for being a medical cannabis patient, CT Post reports. The settlement with Donald Bensey came as the case was set for a trial in Superior Court.
The details of the settlement were not disclosed, and it still requires final approval from the City Council.
In 2012, state lawmakers passed a bill prohibiting employers from firing employees who consumed cannabis and were enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program; however, federal law outlaws the possession of firearms by cannabis consumers, which was required for Bensey in his role as a police officer. Bensey had worked for the Bridgeport police since 2006, and was promoted to sergeant in 2016, but had qualified for the medical cannabis program in 2016 following a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, the report says.
In 2016 and 2018, then-Police Chief Armando Perez issued a department-wide memo stating that, despite the medical cannabis law and 2012 law protecting medical cannabis patients, officers “are still prohibited from using or possessing marijuana and will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.” Bensey subsequently tested positive for cannabis during a random drug test and was suspended for 30 days and threatened with termination; he would later resign.
In 2019, a federal judge tossed Bensey’s discrimination case, citing federal law.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe