In 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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