Drug laws remain vague and problematic, but what if you get sacked for taking drugs as part of a prescription?
We have all been intrigued by the effects of drugs at some point in our lives. But why do people use illegal drugs to satisfy their interest and pleasure? Are ice-cream and pizza not enough to give us the satisfaction we long for? Over the centuries mankind has developed various tendencies, from the violence of hunting to the relaxing pastime of smoking small plants … But are these tendencies our friends, or foes?
Marijuana is an illegal drug in the U.S, but accepted for medicinal and recreational use across 23 states. So by this law, marijuana seems legal to use without any repercussions, right? Well, sadly the law doesn’t take into consideration company anti-drug policies and therefore the joy of this recreational drug is a mere fiction.
It was recently announced that workers in Colorado, (one of 23 states which accepts marijuana for medicinal use) may lose their jobs due to using marijuana outside of the work place, despite the drug being used for medicinal purposes. Five years ago a company called ‘Dishwork’ sacked their employee for using marijuana at home, despite the drug being legal in the state and the worker being issued with a medical drug card. The marijuana helped him calm violent muscle spasms as he is quadriplegic; the use of the drug had become a part of his daily life. This naturally raises issues of morality as the employee did nothing wrong, but simply engage in recreational drugs to suppress the pain he was in. His smoking did not get in the way of his job therefore his ability to perform at work was never under question.
One’s indulgences and practices outside of the work place should not be a factor that impacts on a person’s professional life. There are countless numbers of people who made their stand in history despite taking drugs. Bill Gates ‘experimented’ with LSD (that means he used it) and stated he never missed a day of work. Paul Erdős (arguably the greatest mathematician of our era) used amphetamines, yet was known for working 19 hours a day well into his old age. Sigmund Freud theorised unsettling wonders whilst taking cocaine, okay I guess Freud isn’t the best example to mention, but you get the point.
If drugs had been the cause of job loss for the brightest minds of our generation, would we still be living in the same world we have today? Through the examples given, the drugs used did not only help them with their daily work, but enhanced their ability to produce their best work. Yet here we have an employee being fired for taking marijuana (a legal drug), in the comfort of his own home (out of work), only to ease his muscle aches and strains (a valid reason above all).
The employee was unable to carry his lawsuit against his former employers due to the drug being illegal under countrywide federal laws. The landmark ruling sets a president for federal laws which undermine local state laws on the topic of narcotics, that is why the employee did not have an argument to fight with.
The incident without a doubt can be seen as a learning curve, whilst raising conflict between state laws and company drug policies. It answers the question most people have pondered for years, is it okay to get ‘high’ outside of their job? Well the answer lies within the company’s drug policy and whether you’re able to hide it better from the public … We live in a world where laws impede our free will, a constant conflict between what is appropriate on the job and outside of the job. Marijuana is used recreationally across the globe, satisfying millions with its release of dopamine. But the underlying question still lurks: Is marijuana our friend, or foe?