Implications of Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings Inc. on Employment Law Regulations for Medicinal Marijuana Patients in New Jersey

A shocking ruling occurred recently in the Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings Inc. case that was one of the New Jersey court systems’ first active stances on the scope of Medicinal Marijuana and how it impacts other areas of law such as Employment Law. According to the holding of the case, it is now illegal in New Jersey to be fired for failing a drug test if the employee has a Medicinal Marijuana prescription if the employee was not under the influence while at work. While this decision is quite controversial, there are several nuances unique to each case related to this issue that have to be weighted before determining the firing of an employee was inappropriate for failing a drug test.

A Brief Overview of Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings Inc.

Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings Inc. resulted from a discrimination lawsuit filed by Justin Wild who was a Cancer patient that was fired from his job at the Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 2016. Wild had not told his employer that he was enrolled in the Medicinal Marijuana Program until after he had been injured in a car accident and was taken to the hospital. Emergency personnel did not give a drug test because Wild indicated he was enrolled in the program and that he was not high at the time of the accident that was deemed to not be his fault. Wild’s boss insisted that he get a drug test before returning to work, which he did, and he was fired when he tested positive for Marijuana. At the State Superior Court, the trial judge held that the 2010 New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act doesn’t require employers to make accommodations to Medicinal Marijuana patients on the job. The State Superior Court’s decision brought up a legal contradiction between the 2010 New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act and Disability laws within the state, which is why the Appellate Court agreed to hear the case. Subsequently, Carriage Funeral Services filed for an appeal to the State Supreme Court and it will be known soon if they are going to take the case.

Important Factors Discussed in the Case

The case heard at the appellate level began to discuss the balance between the kind of Disability protections are available to employees both at work and outside of work and how the 2010 New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act needs to be considered in maintaining clear precedent for employers to follow. If the State Supreme Court does decide to take the case, it will shed some useful light on what protections those that have Medicinal Marijuana prescriptions can enjoy both at work and outside of work.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

As a result of Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings Inc., the preconceived notion from employers that since Marijuana was illegal under Federal Law, it protects employers against repercussions from firing employees who have failed routine drug tests is now very questionable. Employers will now need to prepare a strategy within New Jersey and other states that have followed a similar pattern of court decisions in order to protect their companies from lawsuits that may arise out of the ambiguous legal area of workplace drug testing and Medicinal Marijuana patient prescription holders.

Should I Consult with an Attorney if I Have Been Fired for Failing a Drug Test When I Have a Medicinal Marijuana Prescription in New Jersey?

Given that the laws surrounding Medicinal Marijuana in New Jersey are quite murky and undefined, it is highly recommended that you speak with an attorney if you have been fired based on failing a drug test if you have a Medicinal Marijuana prescription. Each case is handled on a case-by-case basis and the legal issues can become complex since Marijuana use is still technically legal under Federal Law even though now many states have legalized the use of Medicinal Marijuana. While there are many New Jersey Lawyers to choose from, very few have such substantial experience in New Jersey Criminal Defense and Municipal Court issues. When seeking out the best possible, NJ Lawyer for your upcoming case, it is highly recommended to work with the Bianchi Law Group.

Former Prosecutors and Trusted by the Media

The Bianchi Law Group partners Robert Bianchi and David Bruno are former prosecutors who have handled the investigations and prosecutions of crimes in New Jersey and are certified along with only 250 other attorneys as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Robert Bianchi and David Bruno have extensive experience related to Criminal Defense cases in New Jersey. Robert Bianchi and David Bruno regularly appear as national legal analysts to comment and debate all most major news networks such as: Fox News, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Fox Business among others.

The Bianchi Law Group focuses on practice areas related to Domestic Violence, Criminal Defense, and Municipal Court matters. Contact us at 862-210-8570 to discuss potential legal implications of the new regulations in New Jersey or any other legal issues you have.