Cannabis may be the Miracle cure, but don’t let your employer know
The lean muscular person I remembered was grossly overweight and swollen. A recent reunion with a childhood friend after nearly 30 years, revealed he had been battling Lymphoma for the past two years.
Doctors had prescribed so many different pills that he could no longer tell me all of them. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments left him bald, depressed and sicker than before. Steroids relieved the pain of arthritis that had set in but they also blew his weight up over 80 lbs in a year.
Bob told the doctor he didn’t want to take steroids any longer. When he stopped, his body became swollen, mostly at the joints. Over the time he was being barraged by an assortment of poisons, his immune system became extremely fragile. He was no longer able to fight off simple viral infections and colds. He told me there had been many nights when he was on the floor in attempt to get to the bathroom but was so sick and in such pain, he could barely move.
“I’ve learned to live with it.” Bob said. “They tell me I’m in a state of remission right now. I don’t have the cancer, but I have so many other issues I didn’t have going in. There were times when I considered ending it all. I was just so tired of always hurting and being sick. All the drugs made me feel like something that I wasn’t. But, I had no choice.”
“You know, I know more about my condition than I care too, but cannabis oil has never been mentioned by anyone before. I did ask the doctor about smoking marijuana. She said I would have to smoke one joint every 15 minutes for it to be helpful. That wasn’t very practical. I’m required to take a drug test at work every month. I can’t afford to lose my job.”
“What if you talked to your company and explained the situation?”
“They would tell me to take some time off. Take a leave of absence. But they wouldn’t make an exception for me.” Bob said. “And honestly, I know nothing about the things you tell me about cannabis oil. It may help, but I’m not confident of that.”
“Look. I’m deep in a battle I’ve been fighting over two years.” Bob said. “My doctors are familiar with my challenges. They are optimistic. It’s taken some time to learn what the right path was. Insurance is paying for nearly everything. I couldn’t receive the treatments if I had to pay. So, to abandon it now and start something we know nothing about, something I would have to pay for, isn’t an option I’m willing to consider. If I lose my job, what quality of life I do have is gone.”
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently declined to reconsider its status as a Schedule I controlled substance.
Many employers have policies in place that include a zero-tolerance approach to drug use. Many also conduct drug testing before hiring and random drug testing for employees – tests that users of medical marijuana will fail. Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, companies that receive federal contracts must prohibit the use of marijuana in the workplace.
Though medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, most businesses aren’t changing to keep up with the times. Instead, they’re keeping their drug-free policies. Unfortunately, until employers in Florida and other states adapt change, medicating legally with cannabis will continue to be grounds for getting fired in the workplace.
This is a big challenge to legalization efforts across the country – if states continue to legalize but the federal government remains silent or refuses to re-schedule cannabis, users are still able to be terminated for using a drug that may be perfectly legal in their state.
The employment protections in Florida is unclear − “The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver in compliance with this section is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law.” (Article X, Section 29(a)(1)) –
“Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.” (Article X, Section 29(c)(6))
You can take an assortment of harsh pain relievers and anti-depressants, abuse your body repeatedly with alcohol and other detrimental drugs and nothing is suggested to indicate your job is in jeopardy. Yet, cannabis has proven safe and therapeutic.
One would think that a candid conversation with company leaders would rectify the situation. This is not the same as an individual who consumes cannabis in a fashion that interferes with their job. Surely anyone with any compassion would see how conventional medicine has altered this man in both spirit and physical appearance, not to mention his declining health. It should never get to that point. Allowing employees to try unconventional treatments that has huge promise of relief and possibly cure is the right decision for employers. It’s time for some human compassion and basic common sense.
Cannabis advocates across the state of Florida have contributed to the legality of medical cannabis. In 2010, it was a longshot. In 2017, a reality. By any account, it was an impressive accomplishment. But we have not achieved a position of true cannabis freedom.
In some respects, although medical cannabis is now legal for registered patients, we still must remain discreet in our consumption. An innocent comment on Facebook could feasibly be viewed by your employer and evolve into loss of job.
The roots of cannabis prohibition in Florida were never intended to be removed. Now that Amendment 2 is poised to become effective in October of 2017, the cannabis community has gained tremendous leverage in completing that task. In the meantime, true cannabis freedom is on the way. It just hasn’t arrived yet.
“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.” …John Stuart Mill-1859