Some readers may recall the story of Joseph Casias, the model employee who was fired from his job at Wal-Mart for using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. The ACLU was in court today to argue that an appeals court should reinstate a lawsuit we filed on Casias' behalf, charging Wal-Mart and the manager of its Battle Creek, Mich., store with wrongfully firing him.

Casias has suffered for more than a decade from sinus cancer and a softball-sized brain tumor in his head and neck that makes it difficult to speak and causes severe and constant pain. Like many medical marijuana patients, he found only minimal relief from most pain medications, which as a side effect caused him to suffer from severe nausea.

That's why, after Michigan voters passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in 2008, Casias' oncologist recommended that he try marijuana, and so he obtained the appropriate registry card from the Michigan Department of Community Health. The results were immediate and profound: his pain decreased dramatically, the new medicine did not induce nausea and he was able to gain back some of the weight he had lost during treatment.

In accordance with the law, Casias — the 2008 Associate of the Year at Wal-Mart's Battle Creek location — never ingested marijuana while at work and never worked while under the influence of marijuana. Wal-Mart fired him for testing positive for marijuana anyway.

The Michigan law protects medical marijuana patients from "disciplinary action by a business," but a district court judge nevertheless dismissed our lawsuit on behalf of Casias in February 2011. During oral arguments today, the ACLU asserted its case should be reinstated because the lower court ignored the text of the state's medical marijuana law prohibiting companies like Wal-Mart from firing patients like Casias.

Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from
Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube's privacy statement on their website and Google's privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU's privacy statement, click here.

Learn more about medical marijuana: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Add a comment (2)
Read the Terms of Use

Two Replies

Keep pushing!
The state is their employer, so state LAWS trump the judge's opinion.
Judges MUST rule fairly based upon the laws their states pass.
And just like civilians, ignorance of current laws is NO EXCUSE.
IMO, if a state judge continuously rules against a state law, they should be fireda and/or disbared for incompetance.

mike johnson

Incompetence is the only word I can come up with for this case .Walmart does not have the right under mich law to fire anyone who has a valid hard card and the judge that could not read the law must be fired if he is just going to make his own laws.We now must go back and take a good look at all the cases he has ruled on to find out how bad he has screwed over "WE THE PEOPLE"..But we all know that is never going to happen..I LOVE MY COUNTRY BUT I HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT....I look at it this way If our troops where really fighting for our freedoms they would be attacking washington dc

Stay Informed