In what is considered a moral victory for medical marijuana, a Superior Court judge rejected to dismiss a case where a Westerly fabric company has been accused of violating a woman’s civil rights and state law by denying her a paid internship after disclosing that she carried a medical marijuana card.
Darlington Fabrics Corporation filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Christine Callaghan which Judge Richard A. Licht promptly denied. The suit claims that Darlington Fabrics violated the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and the state medical marijuana law when it refused to pay Callaghan for her internship after she told the company that she was a medical marijuana cardholder for her occasional debilitating migraine headaches.
The issue is significant because if the defendant company was to have their way, any of the thousands of people in Rhode Island using medical marijuana would be forced to choose between taking medical marijuana medication to relieve their pain or not have a job. ACLU argued that although employers may not approve or like the medical marijuana law, they must, however, comply with it.
Records of the lawsuit show that Callaghan had been registered with the Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program since February 2013 and applied for the internship in Darlington’s dye lab. The company stated that she could start July 2014 but during a meeting with the Company’s human resources on June 30, 2014, she disclosed that she held a medical marijuana card. Callaghan, explained, however, that she would not bring medical marijuana onto the premises or come to work after having taken marijuana.
On July 2, the Company officials informed her that they could not employ her because of her status as a medical marijuana patient and she would not be hired because of her marijuana use.