Last week a federal judge ruled that the company that generates more revenues than any other worldwide in 2018 violated anti-discrimination laws in their 2016 firing of an Arizona medical marijuana patient.
Arizona US District Judge James A. Teilborg found last week that Walmart had violated an anti-discrimination provision in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) when they fired medical marijuana patient Carol Whitmire for failing a drug test.
The ruling is being called a "first of its kind" in the Grand Canyon State by Whitmire's lawyer Joshua Carden.
"No court has officially decided whether a private right-of-action exists under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, so that was a big part of the decision," Carden told Phoenix New Times.
Previous to her termination, Whitmire had worked for Walmart for about eight years and had been using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and arthritis for at least two when she was fired. Whitmire maintains that she never brought her cannabis to work, nor was she ever impaired while on the job.
Under the AMMA patients are protected from being terminated for "positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment." Even though Whitmire failed her drug test, Teilborg ruled that Walmart was "unable to prove that Plaintiff's drug screen gave it a 'good faith basis' to believe Plaintiff was impaired at work."
A decision will be made by the court in May regarding Whitmire's damages and potential reinstatement to her old job with the company.
This ruling comes as the latest finding by a federal judge that a medical marijuana patient had been wrongly discriminated against. It also appears to be the first time that a case like this has been won against a corporation of the size and stature of Walmart. As these cases continue to come forward, it is increasingly apparent that many federal courts are supporting that rights of legal medical marijuana patients across the country.