On January 3, a new amendment became part of the Florida Constitution, allowing for the medical use of marijuana. This legislation makes Florida the twenty-eighth state to legalize marijuana in some capacity. The amendment will allow patients to be prescribed medical marijuana for debilitating conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and PTSD.
There is a provision that allows other conditions to be applicable under this law, as determined by a licensed physician. As of now, it is unclear exactly what other conditions will be applicable, and how broad the law could be construed.
The new law will likely cause many legal battles from both proponents and opponents as lines are drawn to determine exactly who can use medical marijuana. Bottom line, the law seeks to protect medical users of marijuana from criminal charges. If you have been charged or arrested for possession of marijuana contact us at Pallegar Law, P.A. We are experienced Sarasota and Tampa Medical Marijuana Attorneys.
According to the Florida Bar Journal, this new law could undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which specifies that companies cannot discriminate against those with disabilities, and they must provide reasonable accommodation so that the worker can carry out their job.
Additionally, the ADA states that employers must give disabled workers accommodations in order to take medication during their shift. However, it also states that employees engaging in the use of illegal drugs are exempt from the coverage the ADA provides.
Despite being legal in some capacity in the majority of states, marijuana is still federally illegal, and is classified as a Schedule I drug. The passing of new legislation provides an obstacle for disabled Americans who use medical marijuana. The ADA also says that these people must be given accommodation to take medication at work, but there is no mention of illegal medication, such as medical marijuana.
Many states are silent on this issue, favoring ambiguity rather than taking a position. However, a few states have made their positions clear by stating that medical marijuana patients must be given accommodation and coverage by the ADA, according to the state’s human rights laws. If you are a disabled American who uses medical marijuana and need legal help to protect yourself and your rights, contact a knowledgeable and aggressive Tampa Medical Marijuana Attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A., as soon as possible.
Many of the issues that medical marijuana patients will face stem from a disconnect between state and federal laws. If it is legal on a state level but illegal on a federal level issues will probably arise. The Drug-Free Workplace Act states that employers must keep their workplaces free from illegal drugs. This means that even if an employee is using medical marijuana legally, they may face issues in their workplace. In the state of Washington, a court ruled that their state marijuana laws do not protect an employee from termination based on drug use, even if it is legal medical marijuana. The only protection their marijuana laws provide is for criminal defense.
For residents of Sarasota and Tampa, the Florida Drug-Free Workplace Act is in place. If a worker tests positive for a legal prescription drug, they can petition to the medical review officer in an attempt to overturn the positive test. Potentially, this can extend to cover medical marijuana patients, as the drug can be classified as a legal prescription drug. Overall, there is still a lot that is up in the air in regards to medical marijuana and the workplace. This is new ground for Florida, and in the coming months we can expect numerous court cases dealing with the legislation and its effects.
If you are a medical marijuana patient and want to understand how this legislation will affect you and your employment, please contact an experienced Tampa medical marijuana attorney today by calling Pallegar Law, P.A. at 941-893-5816 (Sarasota) or 813-444-3912 (Tampa) to be connected with an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate this new world of medical marijuana, criminal charges, or employment concerns.