Some Central New York employers and employees might face a legal dilemma when the state’s medical marijuana program takes effect.
Partner at Tully Rinckey law firm in Syracuse Graig Zappia says the federal Controlled Substances Act still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with “no accepted medical use.”
Lawyer Graig Zappia says an employee who might be fired for using medical marijuana has no protection under federal statutes like the Americans With Disabilities Act. But, he says, the employee likely has recourse under state laws.
Zappia says both sides have to be wary of anything that might infringe on the rights of others. He says medical marijuana also introduces liabilities for doctors participating in the program. Zappia says health care providers will have to be very certain to just whom they’re prescribing the medication so they don’t run afoul of the law.
Governor Cuomo and the legislature have agreed to a limited medical marijuana program for patients with cancer, AIDS, and childhood seizure disorders. It will not allow the drug to be smoked. Cuomo, who had expressed reservations about allowing medical marijuana, says the bill will grant sick people access to the drug, while imposing limits that will prevent abuse of marijuana.
A Syracuse Doctor initially skeptical of Governor Cuomo's medical marijuana plan is now embracing what appears to be a closely monitored, research-based model.
Doctor Jeffrey Sneider is an internist at Brighton Medical Associates, and represents a 10 county region for the Medical Society of New York. Sneider says he's still learning the details, but so far likes the limited scope of the program.