Medical marijuana can still get you fired despite amendment passing in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Supporters of Amendment 2 rejoiced Tuesday after Missouri voters approved medical marijuana.

For people like Candace Baier, whose son has epilepsy, it’s a life changer.

“People in huge amounts of pain, people who have PTSD, all kinds of illnesses can benefit from this,” Baier said.

Thousands of Missourians with qualifying conditions will benefit from medical marijuana, eventually. It's going to take a couple months before the new amendment is implemented.

But if Missouri is like other states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal reasons, there’s another unfortunate reality for people hoping for a doctor’s prescription: Even with one, some people can still be fired from their job if they test positive for pot.

“There’s going to be a figuring out phase,” said Brandan Davies, an attorney with Roth-Davies.

Davies is reminding people of a key provision in Amendment 2. Section 7(D) makes it clear that anyone in Missouri who tests positive for pot, even with a doctor’s permission, cannot “bring a claim against any employer, former employer or prospective employer for wrongful discharge."

“I’m sure that was in there for a reason,” Davies said. “Probably to protect employers. Now, that’s not going to stop some creative plaintiff’s lawyer from coming up with a way to get around that, to sue an employer. But again, you don’t want to be the first guy figuring all of this out.”

Davies believes employers in Missouri will respond in much the same way companies in Colorado did after medical marijuana became legal there in 2012. That's to say, ultimately, the decision on who should and should not be allowed to use marijuana for medical reasons will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

“If you’re a receptionist, you’re going to be held to a different standard, as far as what you have in your system, than, say, a truck driver,” Davies said.