New Mexico Likely to Pass Bill Protecting Medical Marijuana Users From Losing Their Job Over Cannabis

One of the biggest issues in medical marijuana is that most states do not provide protections for workers who use cannabis legally. But New Mexico may be addressing that issue.

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Laws

By Joseph Misulonas

New Mexico's incoming Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is exploring policies that would protect the state's medical marijuana patients from losing their jobs for using cannabis. Around 58,000 people in New Mexico are legal medical marijuana users, and they're all facing possible repercussions for doing so. And others who could benefit greatly from medicinal cannabis cannot use it for those reasons.

Very few states with legalized medical marijuana have laws in place protecting workers for legally using cannabis. So even if someone has a prescription for marijuana, they can still be fired from their job if they fail a drug test. This is an issue that many marijuana advocates feel needs to be addressed. 

"People should never have to choose between their medication and their employment," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

But the incoming New Mexico Governor says she'll address the issue and hopefully find a reasonable solution. A spokesperson for the governor said she "will direct a legal review of the matter and work with all stakeholders — employers, law enforcement, health care providers and patients — toward a solution that benefits all parties and protects patients."

Lujan Grisham also supports legalizing recreational marijuana, so it's possible this policy will be a stepping stone towards legalizing the drug entirely in the state.

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