Florida Dept. of Corrections Officer Sues After Being Fired for Medical Cannabis Use

A medical cannabis patient, combat veteran, and former Florida Department of Corrections officer who was fired after testing positive on a random drug test is now suing the state, arguing his constitutional rights were violated.

Full story after the jump.

A former Florida Department of Corrections worker is suing the state after he was fired for his legal use of medical cannabis, FOX 13 reports. Samuel Ortiz-Velez, a marine combat veteran, was fired following a random drug test, which he argues violated his rights under the state constitution.  

Ortiz-Velez’s attorney, Michael Minardi, told FOX 13 that he believes his client and other medical cannabis patients “should have the same protection in the workforce” as others that use prescription medications that are controlled substances.  

“If you’re on opiates in a drug-free workplace and you test positive, not under the influence you’re permitted to show your prescription from a doctor to show a justification why you have it in that your system. We believe people in the state of Florida should have that same protection for medical marijuana.” — Minardi to FOX 13 

The Florida Department of Corrections’ drug-free workplace policy prohibits the use of “illegal drugs on or off duty.” 

“Drug means alcohol (including distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, and intoxicating liquors) amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), hallucinogens, methaqualone, opiates, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, synthetic narcotics, designer drugs, or metabolite of any of the above substances,” the policy states. “… The Department also does not allow the use of medical marijuana by its employees or on its premises.” 

The case is filed in Florida’s First District Court of Appeals. 

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