A government employee Doretha Barber, who was told that she would only get back to work after she stopped using medical marijuana and passed a drugs test is suing Washington, D.C.
Barber’s work is classified as safety-sensitive in the Department of Public Works; however, she does not operate heavy pieces of machinery or vehicles. Currently, her work involves raking leaves and spreading salt on icy sidewalks. She started working as an office assistant, then got promoted to a sanitation worker.
She had been suffering from extreme backaches and migraines for several years to the extent that sometimes she could not see nor lift her head up. In 2018, she informed her supervisor that she has been using medical marijuana to manage the pain when she was not at work. Barber’s doctor recommended marijuana after trying several prescription pain killers and muscle relaxers to no avail.
Barber said that she was told not to go back to work until she stopped using medical cannabis, and passed a drugs test, even if she never went to work under the influence. She was also told to seek counseling for drug abuse.
She said that she felt like she was stereotyped as a drug abuser when they asked her to stop using medical marijuana, take a test and seek drug counseling, even though she does not have a drug problem.
With the help of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Chapter of D.C, Barber is suing for permission to treat her ailments using medical marijuana during her time off. Furthermore, she wants Washington, D.C. to view medical cannabis like any other prescription medicine.
The legal co-director of ACLU, D.C. Chapter, Scott Michelman said that what the city is doing to government employees such as Doretha Barber by asking them to choose between a job and medicine is not fair. Mayor Muriel Bowser refused to voice his opinion on the pending lawsuit.
Michelman said that although there are jobs that qualify to be classified as safety-sensitive, the government is disingenuously over classifying people as safety-sensitive.
According to the mayor’s office, there are 35,000 employees in Washington, D.C, of which 11,000 of those jobs are classified as safety-sensitive, and employees are prohibited from using medical marijuana.
Only seven states in the United States permit government employees to use medical cannabis just like any other prescription drug only if the law allows it, said the ACLU.
It is widely believed that industry actors like Grapefruit Boulevard Investments Inc. (OTCQB: IGNG) and Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) are hoping for a court decision that protects the rights of workers to use medical cannabis just as they would any other medicine.
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