A medical marijuana patient was all but officially hired for a summer internship in the textiles industry in Providence, until she mentioned her medical condition and preferred medication- cannabis. What was to be her final step to graduation turned, instead, into filing the first discrimination lawsuit, of its kind, in the state of Rhode Island.
Christine Callaghan is a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island. She was set up for a two-month internship opportunity with Darlington Fabrics Corporation. After having already worked out all of the details of the internship, she had one final meeting with company representatives where she disclosed that she suffers from debilitating migraine headaches. Callaghan explained she she seeks relief with the use of medical marijuana, but explained that she would never use it before work or bring it with her. Nothing was mentioned about this being a problem during the meeting.
It was not until a couple of days later that Callaghan received a call from two company representatives, telling her that she could not be employed by Darlington Fabrics because she was a state-registered medical marijuana patient. At this point, it was too late for Callaghan to find a replacement internship that would allow her to graduate on time. Callaghan is now being represented by Carly Iafrate, of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, in the discrimination lawsuit. When asked about the lawsuit, Iafrate explained to WPRI 12 that sitting back, permitting companies to discriminate against medical marijuana users would result in its legalization being an empty promise.
The ruling on cases like this will help pave the way, and set precedence for future hearings of the same nature. A person should not be discriminated against for using a plant that grows naturally in the earth, no matter whether that person chooses to use it for recreational purposes or medicinal. A person would not be denied a job for mentioning having a glass of wine before bed, or for taking over the counter pain relievers or even pharmaceutical ones. Cannabis use is still viewed with reefer-madness glasses by some, but that stigma is on the way out the door with rising popularity of marijuana law reform in the United States and the rest of the world.
photo credit: vieuxfuret