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Nevada Medical Pot Patients Can Sue Former Employer If Fired, Court Rules

If you’re a medical cannabis patient in Nevada, smoke up: medical cannabis patients in the state were recently empowered to consume cannabis on their own time after a landmark decision in court.

Nevada’s Supreme Court has ruled, on December 1, that workers in the state can sue former employees who were fired for using cannabis without a clock. Keep in mind, however, that adult-use cannabis consumers in the state aren’t exactly provided the same protections.

This ruling is three years old. Jim Roushkolb first filed it in November 2019 at the Eighth District Court.

“It relaxes me,” Roushkolb told FOX affiliate KTNV, who suffers from PTSD and numerous other conditions. Roushkolb, a former Ohio inmate who was a corrections officers in Ohio, was brutally attacked in his Ohio car in 1995.

“He opened the door, and he grabbed me, and he just hit me in the head with a pipe,” he said, “and just started beating me in the head, and he took his thumb and jammed it in my eye like that and tore my retina.”

Roushkolb was a cannabis user who used it to alleviate anxiety symptoms and PTSD. But in 2018, Freeman Expositions LLC fired Roushkolb on the spot. Roushkolb tested positive for THC. This is despite him being a legal cannabis patient in Nevada.

Christian Gabroy, Christian’s attorney, immediately saw a straight-forward case. 

“The company acted discriminatory, this company violated his rights, and this multi-jurisdictional, multi-million dollar company, they terminated him in violation of Nevada law,” Gabroy said.

Nevada Adult-Use Laws are Not the Same

Nevada’s recreational cannabis smokers might not be able to get the same result in court. NORML highlighted last September that patients and recreational cannabis users are subject to a completely different set of rules.

Nevada law limits employers from punishing workers who are enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis access program. Furthermore, a 2019 law makes it “unlawful for any employer in [Nevada] to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.” 

But good luck fighting it in court if you’re fired for a drug test. As it turns out—there’s plenty of legal precedent on the matter: Just last August, the Nevada Supreme Court denied a similar lawsuit for an employee fired for testing positive for THC.

The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a complaint by an employee who was fired for testing positive for THC for a routine test after getting in an accident.  

The case of Ceballos v. NP Palace, LLCThe employee claimed that the positive THC test result was the result of his recreational use at home and that he did not have any intoxication or impairment at work. This was consistent with the state’s law. 

Nevada law under NRS 613.333(1) makes it unlawful for employers to “[d]ischarge . . . Any employee . . Employees are engaged[d] in the lawful use in this state of any product outside the premises of the employer during the employee’s nonworking hours” so long as “that use does not adversely affect the employee’s ability to perform his or her job or the safety of other employees.”

However, Nevada judges ruled that federal law—and the federal status of cannabis—also applies in that clause, and the plaintiff’s complaint was denied. In 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court reached a similar conclusion. This logic would mean that medical marijuana is also illegal in federal law.

  • Benjamin M. Adams

    Benjamin M. Adams, Staff Writer, at Chronic News. He has previously written for Vice Magazine, Forbes, HuffPost and The Advocate. Southern New Hampshire University awarded him a Bachelor in Communication.

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