Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act provides a private cause of action to workers, allowing state-sanctioned, card-carrying medical pot patients to sue their employers for alleged discrimination based on their lawful use of the drug, a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled on an issue of first impression.LitigationLiabilityExcess & Surplus Lines
No federal court in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had previously addressed the question, and only one Pennsylvania commonwealth court had reached the issue, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said.
But courts in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island have read those states’ similar laws as permitting employees to sue for bias based on medical marijuana use, the court said.
It predicted the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would find the state legislature intended to give workers the right to privately enforce the MMA even though the 2016 law doesn’t expressly provide that right.
The law doesn’t provide for enforcement by a governmental agency, and the MMA would be toothless if private enforcement were prohibited, the court said.