A 24-year-old in New York was recently fired for using medical cannabis. Kristian Hidalgo has battled depression his entire life. More recently, Hidalgo developed several other health problems. In 2015, he was also diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Medical Cannabis Relieves Symptoms of ALL Hidalgo’s Conditions
Like countless others who suffer from the same conditions, he was given a cocktail of prescription medications to help ease his symptoms. Hidalgo, who expressed to the New York Times that he would one day like to have children, noted that a side effect of one of the medications he was prescribed was sterility.
Instead of using the prescribed medication then, he turned to over-the-counter relief to help him manage his pain. This however, gave him little relief.
In 2016, this all changed. Hidalgo tried marijuana for the first time about a year after he was diagnosed with his chronic illnesses. He expressed that it was far more effective than any OTC medication he had tried. And then there was the fact that cannabis treated not one, but all of his symptoms.
“Smoking [cannabis],” Hidalgo says, “is an alternative that’s way better than taking a medication for pain, [another] for depression, [and one] for anxiety. For all that, I can just smoke. A little bit, and I’m good.”
Fired for Using Medical Cannabis…Even When Employers Were Informed About It
Apparently, the company he got a job with around the same time didn’t feel the same. The same year Hidalgo started using medical cannabis, he landed an energy management job with Green City Force. When he was hired, he told his employers that he was a registered medical cannabis patient. When the found him medicating at work three months later however, he was fired.
Hidalgo unfortunately, isn’t alone. Because cannabis is illegal at a federal level, many companies in medically legal states still won’t recognize state laws, and people are fired every day for using legally prescribed medical marijuana. Employers can still practice drug tests, and its up to their discretion whether they let employers use cannabis, medical or otherwise.
While many employers have adopted rules that re-examine medical cannabis use in the workplace, there are still several who uphold federal law over state jurisdiction. And although many activists and supporters of legalization are trying to help see things change, as long as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, many employers believe their hands are tied.