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Medical Marijuana: Schwarzenegger Vetoes Employment Rights Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #554)

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have protected medical marijuana patients from being fired from their jobs for testing positive for pot on a drug test.

The bill, AB 2279, authored by marijuana-friendly Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would have overturned a January California Supreme Court ruling that allowed employees to fire or otherwise punish employees who legally use medical marijuana under state law. Under the Leno bill, only people in safety-related or law enforcement positions could have been fired.

In that January ruling, the Supreme Court held that the state's Compassionate Use Act did exempt patients and caregivers from being prosecuted by the state, but was not intended to stop employers from firing workers for violating federal drug laws.

Schwarzenegger sang from the same hymnal in his veto message. "I am concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to marijuana use," the governor wrote. "Employment protection was not a goal of the initiative as passed by voters in 1996."

But medical marijuana supporters who spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle after the veto announcement begged to differ. "The intent of Prop. 215 was to treat marijuana like other legal pharmaceutical drugs," said Dale Gieringer, a coauthor of the ballot measure and California coordinator of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Leno told the local newspaper he was not surprised by the veto, given the Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the bill. He said the court majority and the governor apparently presumed that "the voters who supported Prop. 215 in 1996 intended that only those medical marijuana patients who are unemployed could make use of (the law)."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

First he vetoed an industrial hemp bill. Now her vetoed this one. This is ludicrous.

Now our State is asking the Federal government for a 7 billion dollar loan to pay our debt which could easliy be made into a surplus by at least legalizing hemp. It appears that Arnold has become just "another politician." I am glad Jerry Brown, our AG, is showing prudence and reason. I hope he will be our next Governor.

Norman Lepoff, M.D.

Fri, 10/03/2008 - 4:07pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"Now our State is asking the Federal government for a 7 billion dollar loan to pay our debt which could eas[il]y be made into a surplus by at least legalizing hemp."

Couldn't agree more, Dr. Lepoff. It's the Hollywood trend of doing something that looks good but failing to support the implications that give that something its teeth.

Or maybe AS still smokes cannabis, without a doctor's note, & doesn't want publicity.

RT Elkin, PhD
Viva los Dodgers!

Fri, 10/03/2008 - 4:59pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I feel bad for the people of Cali. Especially the one's who have the state's permission to possess and obtain their medicine by growing it. What a slap in the face!

Fri, 10/03/2008 - 7:31pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Ahnold needs the $ from the FEDS; so he has to play along and trample the Supreme Law of the Land.

Sat, 10/04/2008 - 8:16pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

During the Swarzenegger's election race it was revealed that in a Body Building article of years ago that the Governor to be, talked of smoking Hash and attending Orgies. This is as bad as when Bush's preacher recorded conversations he had with Bush and Bush talked of his pot smoking days and yet he has no compassion for people who are serving hard time in prison, who are no more guilty of a crime than the one he committed. Just goes to show that the drug won't ruin your chances of attaining the highest office in the Country, but what will ruin your life is when the Lawyers and the Courts get a hold of you.

Sun, 10/05/2008 - 2:20am Permalink

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