New Jersey: Patients Should Not Face Discrimination For Off-The-Job Cannabis Use, Appellate Court Rules

Trenton, NJ: Employers may not discriminate against medical cannabis patients who consume marijuana while away from the job, according to a state Appellate Court decision.

The Appellate Court’s decision reverses a lower court opinion.

While the Court opined that employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical cannabis by patients "in any workplace," the justices also acknowledged that the plaintiff’s marijuana use, in this case, took place solely during off-work hours. "[T]he Compassionate Use Act’s refusal to require an employment accommodation for a user does not mean that the Compassionate Use Act has immunized employers from obligations already imposed elsewhere," the Court determined, explicitly citing New Jersey’s laws against discrimination.

The case is Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings LLC.

Courts in a number of other medical cannabis access states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, have recently issued similar rulings affording workplace protections for qualified patients.

For more information, contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.