Today, in the Kent County Superior Court, Plaintiff Jeremiah Chance was allowed to proceed on his claim of discrimination under the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act (“DMMA”). The DMMA was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor to allow for the medical use of marijuana by patients when certain requirements are met. The DMMA also prohibits discrimination against patients in certain situations who lawfully possess a medical marijuana card or who have a card and test positive for marijuana.
Mr. Chance was terminated after he tested positive for marijuana in a drug test despite the fact that he possessed a medical marijuana card issued pursuant to the DMMA. Mr. Chance filed a lawsuit alleging, among other things, discrimination for being a medical marijuana cardholder. Defendant Kraft Heinz Foods Company moved to dismiss Mr. Chance’s Complaint claiming, in part, the DMMA did not allow patients to sue for discrimination by their employers. Defendant also argued the DMMA was preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), which prohibits marijuana. The Superior Court denied Kraft Heinz Foods Company’s Motion to Dismiss the count of the Complaint based on the DMMA, finding that an employee did have a private right of action against his or her employer when the DMMA’s antidiscrimination provision was violated. Additionally, the federal CSA did not conflict with or preempt the DMMA’s anti-discrimination provision. Mr. Chance’s claim under the DMMA can now proceed to the discovery phase of litigation.
Plaintiff is represented by Patrick C. Gallagher, Esq., of Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. According to Mr. Gallagher, “This is an important decision for medical marijuana cardholders in Delaware. The Superior Court upheld the clear intention of the General Assembly to protect medical marijuana cardholders from being victims of discrimination at work because of their medical needs and treatment. Delawareans who have medical marijuana cards cannot generally be fired for that reason.”
If you have questions about an employment law issue, contact the experienced Delaware employment lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. to schedule a consultation. Call 302-656-5445 today or contact us online. We have offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware to represent clients across the state.