Hartford, Connecticut

Adam Clark

Federal Judge Rules In Favor of Connecticut MMJ Patient

Another judge has ruled in favor of medical cannabis for employees despite drug-free workplace laws, this time in a federal case in Connecticut, according to a Time report.

Healthcare worker Katelin Noffsinger disclosed to her potential employer Bride Brook Health & Rehabilitation Center that she used medical cannabis for PTSD related to a car accident. However, when her drug test returned positive for THC, the nursing home rescinded her job offer, citing the federal prohibition of cannabis.

Noffsinger then sued Bride Brook for workplace discrimination. Medical cannabis patients are explicitly protected against job discrimination under Connecticut‘s medical cannabis laws.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer ruled in favor of Noffsinger, though he denied her request for punitive damages. It was the first decision in favor of a medical cannabis patient in a federal court, though many state-level judges have ruled in favor of cannabis patients in the past.

More importantly, Judge Meyer said in his ruling that the federal Drug Free Workplace Act, which many employers cite when requiring drug testing, does not actually require drug testing and does not prohibit federal contractors from employing users of medical cannabis if it is used in accordance with state law.

“This is a very significant case that throws the issue in doubt for many of these federal contractors. It’s certainly interesting and may be indicative of where the courts are going with this.” — Fiona Ong, employment attorney for Shawe Rosenthal, via Time

This decision may be foundational for future medical cannabis litigation and lawyers involved in the case expect it to be cited in future decisions. Noffsinger and Bride Brook are now headed for further litigation to determine if Noffsinger is owed missed wages from not receiving the job.

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