National Boycott of Walmart Gaining Momentum over Medical Marijuana Employee Firing

March 16, 2010 – A quickly growing effort in the marijuana reform community is calling for a boycott of Walmart. News hit the streets last week that a Michigan man who is a legal medical marijuana patient was fired after failing a drug test.  Though the walmart-marijuanaArkansas based chain has fought critics of its internal policies before, this time it could be sticky.

WZZM reported “Joseph Casias tested positive for marijuana during a routine worker’s compensation drug screen. Casias had worked for the Arkansas based chain for five years, and was the Battle Creek store’s Associate of the Year in 2008. Casias has sinus cancer, which is currently in remission, and an inoperable brain tumor. To treat the pain caused by both diseases, his doctor recommended he use marijuana.”

When Casias revealed in later interviews that Walmart was now also fighting his unemployment benefits the outrage got measurably louder.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Marijuana Policy Project along with numerous local NORML Chapters and individuals have quickly organized marijuana reform supporters to stop shopping at the retail giant.

The ACLU of Michigan is also backing Casias according to a report today from The Michigan Messenger: “He {ACLU rep} also notes that in order for a business to challenge unemployment benefits, it must prove the employee was fired for cause. In other words, Walmart has to prove Casias was fired for breaking the law or failing to do his job. READ FULL

Medical marijuana patients, though legal under state laws, are often discriminated against in this manner.  Currently corporations hide behind legal and contractual screens rather than make policies for their therapeutic cannabis employees. Although most medical marijuana legislation, including New Jersey’s, specifically outlaw any business related sanctions against patients just for being registered, there are no provisions for special consideration during any instance when a workplace drug test is issued.

Walmart’s recent actions against Casias seem to embody a nationwide problem for legal cannabis patients. Facebook groups are popping up to push the boycott and MPP has created a website asking for supporters to make a phone call to the corporation. CLICK HERE

Ken Wolski at the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey is supporting the Walmart boycott from the Garden State, “It’s an outrageous corporate decision to fire a hard working cancer patient, who is using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. We hope that patients here won’t face the same situation.”

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