BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts’ top court on Monday ruled that a woman who had been fired for testing positive for marijuana that she had been legally prescribed under state law could sue her former employer for handicap discrimination.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the former employer’s argument that she could not sue it for handicap discrimination because possessing marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Lawyers for the former employee, Christina Barbuto, said the ruling represents a major win for employees in the state and set a precedent that they said could have an impact in other states where medical marijuana is legal.
Barbuto had accused Advantage Sales and Marketing of firing her after her first day of work because she tested positive for the drug, which she had been prescribed by a doctor to treat low appetite, a side effect of her Crohn’s disease.
Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote that if a doctor concludes medical marijuana is the most effective treatment for an employee’s debilitating condition, “an exception to an employer’s drug policy to