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New Mexico Cannabis Patients Not Protected from Being Fired


Medical marijuana cardholders in New Mexico have no safeguard in place when it comes to employment. They can still be terminated if they test positive for marijuana.  There is a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in the state – which could nix this issue.

Provisions are expected to protect people that use medical or recreational marijuana outside of the workplace in the legislation, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Not everyone is supportive of these provisions – certainly not law enforcement. The proposed bill would make it illegal for an employer to take “adverse actions” against employees for using marijuana on their own personal time.

Attorney Jason Bowles said, “There are no protections right now in New Mexico for workers who use medical marijuana legally.” The employer would have to prove that “a preponderance of evidence that an employee’s lawful use of cannabis has impaired the ability to perform the employee’s job.”

The bill is said to still be in its draft stages. The legislation would still prohibit marijuana and intoxicating substance possession during work hours – including alcohol.

Protections would be in place for marijuana use/possession on school grounds. Schools would be prohibited from penalizing someone for using medical or recreational marijuana legally unless it would result in the loss of federal funding or benefit.

Protections would be in place for violations of federal law where federal contracts are concerned.

It isn’t known yet when the bill to legalize recreational marijuana and update some of the existing laws will be introduced to state lawmakers.