Tuesday, September 14, 2021
As we wrote in our last Marijuana Legalization Rundown, state legislatures across the country have been busy enacting cannabis legalization laws this year. Along with those laws has come a number of recent court decisions interpreting the application of cannabis legalization laws. This post summarizes some of the significant decisions issued this year.
On April 28, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment to the defendant employer on claims brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”)—including claims for disability discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, failure to provide accommodation, failure to engage in an interactive process, and failure to prevent discrimination—asserted by a medical marijuana user whose job offer was withdrawn based on a positive pre-employment drug screening test.
In Espindola v. Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-03702 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2021), the plaintiff, a Florida resident, applied through a recruiting agency for an executive position with the defendant employer. The company offered the plaintiff a job and told him that he would be subject to the policies in the company’s employee handbook, which contained a pre-employment drug testing provision. At the plaintiff’s request, he was granted a delay in scheduling his drug screening in order to address personal matters. Shortly thereafter, and only a few days before his first day at work, the plaintiff took steps to procure a medical marijuana card in Florida. As part of his on-boarding paperwork, the plaintiff indicated that he was not disabled and signed a drug testing consent form and the employee handbook. In a subsequent meeting with the employer’s CEO, the plaintiff disclosed that he had chronic back pain for which he had been prescribed medical marijuana.