Although more than 30 states have legalized some form of cannabis, the drug still remains illegal at the federal level. So while people in states with legal cannabis markets can consume cannabis legally, they are still liable to federal repercussions in certain situations. This is especially true for individuals who are employed by federal organizations, which base their policies on federal regulations and consequently penalize employees who use cannabis.
An ailing Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) worker found this out the hard way after the NYC Transit Authority suspended him and forced him to attend drug rehab classes for using medical cannabis. NYC Transit worker Myles Watson is now looking to file a $5 million notice of claim against the agency, arguing that he was a victim of discrimination due to severe back and neck injuries he had sustained while on the job. Watson’s legal claims came soon after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis in the state.
The 43-year-old’s troubles began back in 2017 when he was involved in a car accident while in an NYC transit vehicle. The ordeal left him with three herniated disks and two bulging disks and forced him to have neck fusion surgery. However, he couldn’t rely on prescription painkillers to reduce the pain he was in because he suffered from diverticulosis and celiac disease. He began using cannabis to help manage his pain and stomach issues.
Since it is a federal agency, NYC Transit carries out random drug tests. During one such test, Watson tested positive for marijuana and was instructed to attend drug counseling sessions. Another car crash in December 2019 injured him further, tearing cartilage in his knee and causing even more pain. He began smoking CBD flower for pain relief, tested positive for marijuana during another random drug test, and was suspended without pay last November. Due to this, Watson has had his vehicle repossessed, his daughters have no health insurance and their home is under threat of foreclosure.
The agency also instructed Watson to attend several drug counseling sessions per week with individuals who are addicted to much more dangerous drugs. He argues that he isn’t addicted to cannabis, he is just using it medicinally to address his health issues. His lawyer, John Scola, says that although federal agencies such as the MTA have to abide by federal law, they cannot ignore anti-disability discrimination laws in their quest to enforce “archaic” cannabis policies.
Still on the subject of medical marijuana, many programs are underway to conduct clinical trials on several cannabis-based medications, including trials being done by XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT). If such clinical trials are successful, FDA approval could be secured and patients wouldn’t face the risk of being penalized for using those medicines.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/XPHYF
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