New Hampshire: Supreme Courts Rules in Favor of Employment Protections for Medical Cannabis Patients

Concord, NH: Businesses are not permitted to terminate employees solely because of their off-the-job use of medical marijuana, according to a decision rendered by the state’s Supreme Court.

Justices determined that those who participate in the state’s medical cannabis access program qualify under the law as “individuals with a disability” and therefore employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for them. Justices ruled that providing the defendant with an exception to a company’s marijuana drug testing policy was a reasonable accommodation. “We agree with the plaintiff that (the state anti-discrimination law) does not contain any language categorically excluding the use of therapeutic cannabis as an accommodation,” justices ruled in an unanimous opinion.

Unlike the medical cannabis access laws of over a dozen states, New Hampshire’s law does not explicitly protect qualified patients from workplace discrimination. 

Henry Klementowicz, a senior staff attorney for the New Hampshire state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “This Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the over ten thousand Granite Staters enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program who were at were at risk of experiencing employment discrimination due to their disability.” 

The case is Paine v. Ride-Away, Inc. A summary of state laws providing workplace protections for those who consume cannabis off-the-job is available from California NORML.