SANTA FE – New Mexico has had a medical marijuana program since 2007. But the question of how the legalization of medical pot could affect workplace policies against drug use is just now coming to the fore.
In August, a woman who worked in the state government’s Personnel Office filed a lawsuit alleging she was harassed, then fired, because of her participation in the medical marijuana program.
Valerie Romero maintains she lost her job based on a positive drug test after having to put up with suggestions that she change her lifestyle or try “faith-based” remedies for her post-traumatic stress syndrome instead of using medical marijuana. She says she was told she could lose custody of her children and be fired for being on medical pot.
But in its recent court response, the Personnel Office maintains that Romero was not reprimanded for her choice to use marijuana away from the workplace. Essentially, the state asserts that Romero crossed a line when she came to work stoned – with “glassy eyes, a happy and sedate affect” and “an overall difference in her normal behavior.”