How “Medical Marijuana” Scams Pot Users

Medical marijuana reforms hold out the promise that the criminality of illegal drug distribution can be replaced by peace and safety to users when regulated by the government.  Many people, including non-user me, see marijuana as a relaxing substance that is far less dangerous than socially-acceptable and legal alcohol. Proponents of legalization say taxation is “worth it” when the marijuana market is brought into the light of commerce  (shady as that might be).

This is an outright lie and scam that could only be overlooked by someone who is either very stoned, or who foolishly believes that everything the government does is for the common good.

State Medical Marijuana reforms require users to be licensed. That creates a database of users. In Colorado, one of the states with a medical marijuana law, there are 123,890 people (March, 2011) on the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry.

Federal law still views marijuana use as criminal. Feds use the IRS to arm-wrestle national scale companies into compliance at the HR level, raising the specter of licensed users being unable find employment except by mom-and-pop state-level companies. And what’s to stop the Feds from coming to the door of those 123,890 registered users in Colorado with an arrest warrant?

I had already started writing this blog when another story hit the news in Colorado. I’ve already made the point I wanted to make: that having your name in a database as a user of a drug that is still illegal under Federal law is no form of freedom that I can see, it’s only an invitation to get arrested. But, the new story in the news in Colorado takes this a step further.

The Colorado law does NOT protect you from being fired from your job if you are discovered by your employer to be a (licensed) medical marijuana user.

Take the case of Paul Curry of Denver. He worked for seven years at Miller/Coors. Then the other day…

“They just told me to pack my bags. They brought in security, I emptied out my locker, and they told me to go home,” he said.

While MillerCoors will not comment on the decision to let Curry go, Curry says he was told he was being fired because he had just tested positive for marijuana. He says it’s not a surprise.

“I’ve been on the [medical marijuana registry] for about a year,” he said.

“All he had was one single positive UA for THC which means that he had used marijuana in that last 30 days. That’s all it means,” Curry’s attorney Rob Corry said.

Corry has made a living advocating on behalf of medical marijuana users over the last few years.

“He’s a medical marijuana patient. He’s trying to follow his doctor’s orders, and he’s trying to do everything he can to manage his [pain],” Corry said.

Corry and Curry insist that the one-time MillerCoors maintenance mechanic was not “high” in any way at the time of the test. They also say his usage was never a factor in his job performance.

As of Tuesday afternoon, MillerCoors had yet to respond to numerous inquiries from 9NEWS, KUSA TV in Denver (Gannett), but because the issue falls into the realm of “personnel matters,” it was unlikely to say much about its decision to let Curry go regardless.

On Tuesday, Curry and his attorney went to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment in an effort to secure Curry unemployment benefits. Curry has previously been denied the benefits because of the nature of his dismissal.

Amendment 20 (the amendment to the Colorado Constitution that allows the use of medical marijuana on the state level) does include language that offers at least some insight into the situation. It reads, in part, “Nothing in this section shall require any employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any work place.”

So… will “medical marijuana” put users into an economic jail by denying them the possibility of employment? And will those in government bent on regulating every aspect of personal life find other ways to marginalize those they don’t agree with if they’re unable to simply throw them into prison? It seems likely if the recent past can be a guide.

Portions of the above are based on 9news reporting (see video below).

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