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Connecticut Employers May no Longer Only Rely on Federal Law When it Comes to Medical Marijuana

A federal court in Connecticut recently held that refusing to hire a medical marijuana user because she tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates Connecticut’s medical marijuana law. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Nursing & Rehab. Ctr.

Katelin Noffsinger received an offer of employment from Bride Brook, a federal contractor, and informed them she was a qualified patient under the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA). After her pre-employment drug test came back positive, she was not hired. Noffsinger then filed a complaint alleging a violation of PUMA’s anti-discrimination provision.

Bride Brook made several arguments, including that its refusal to hire was allowed by an exception to PUMA’s anti-discrimination provision because it was required by federal law. Their argument was based on the facts that the Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA) prohibits federal contractors from allowing employees to use illegal drugs and that marijuana is illegal under federal law. However, the court rejected this, and all of Bride Brook’s arguments, stating, in part, that the DFWA does not require drug testing and does not regulate employees who use illegal drugs outside of work.

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