New Jersey Supreme Court Confirms Discrimination Claim Based on Medical Marijuana Usage

Image of Medical Marijuana InsigniaIn the most significant decision to date in the medical marijuana context, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently confirmed that a plaintiff under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) can state a viable claim for discrimination related to lawful use of medical marijuana.  On March 10, 2020, the Supreme Court in Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc. (A-91-18) affirmed the judgment of the New Jersey Appellate Division allowing a plaintiff’s LAD claim based on his allegation that he was terminated for lawful medical marijuana use to proceed to the merits.

In Wild, the plaintiff, a licensed funeral home director, alleged that he lawfully (and privately) used medical marijuana during non-work hours to treat his cancer.  His employer learned that he was using medical marijuana and, as plaintiff alleges, terminated him without attempting to discuss an accommodation.  The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that his termination was unlawful disability discrimination under LAD.  At the trial court level, the funeral home defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that under the Compassionate Use Act (the statute allowing medical marijuana in New Jersey), N.J.S.A. 24:6I-14, employers were not required to accommodate an employee who used medical marijuana.  The trial court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s LAD claim.

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New Jersey Announces Expansion of Medical Cannabis Program

Image of Medical Marijuana InsigniaOn Monday, the New Jersey Department of Health announced that it is seeking new applicants to operate 108 additional Alternative Treatment Centers – 38 in the northern region of New Jersey, 38 in the central region and 32 in the southern region.  These licenses will include cultivation (24), manufacturing (30) and dispensaries (54).  This is massive expansion of the medical cannabis program in New Jersey, which now has only twelve (12) ATCs licensed.

Application forms will be available on July 1, 2019 and will be due on August 15, 2019.  The New Jersey Department of Health has published a Request for Applications that provides information for potential applicants.

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