A hero firefighter can’t keep his job due to his medical cannabis prescription.
A 20-year vet of the New Jersey Fire Department was put on paid leave and his future as a firefighter in the balance for using medical cannabis. Ocean City Firefighter Brad Wiltshire has a muscle movement disorder called dystopia that causes muscle spasms and result in intense pain. Wiltshire told his chief that he was using medical cannabis and that it had no effect on his performance on the job. The best the chief could do was paid leave and leave it up to the city to determine his future.
This dilemma will not be going away anytime soon, and as more working professionals turn to cannabis for recovery and aid, the issue will have to be addressed. Most state cannabis laws allow employers to test their employees for cannabis and can terminate on positive results. Most heavy machinery jobs and emergency personnel are subject to this testing regardless if medical marijuana is legal or not in that state. These policies are meant to protect the people around one another while in high leverage situations where lives can be at risk. In 1991 a train crashed killed 174 people, after review the National Transportation and Safety Board that an engineer was using marijuana to the point of impairment.
So what do people with chronic diseases that cannabis can cure do? They are left with a few options. When you look at the small writing on most pharmaceutical bottles, they are more harmful and have more addictive qualities than cannabis. Wiltshire started using these opioids and a tranquilizer that lose effectiveness and are not a long-term solution. He eventually returned to using medical cannabis as an alternative to prescription drugs, and now his job hangs in the balance.
The unwillingness to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis and the fact that most people who use it in pure medical form are using not psychoactive products. Most CBD based products are non-psychoactive and represent the majority of seriously prescribed medical cannabis patients use. In the response to Wiltshire’s appeal, Ocean City officials defended their policies stating, “Any argument that the lack of an incident during this period speaks to the plaintiff’s ability to function while medicated is fallacious, like the argument that a drunk who has not been in a crash can safely drive,” according to a Buzzfeed story.