Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jan 2017
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Kevin Maimann
Page: 3


Switching from opioids to medical marijuana was a personal triumph for a
27-year-old Alberta woman living with endometriosis.

But Dana, whose real name Metro is withholding to protect her identity,
says the drug that gave her a new life has caused nothing but problems
with her employers.

"I thought that once I got a prescription and I was off of the opiates,
and I was a better worker and a more reliable worker, I would be treated
like the tax paying, law abiding adult that I am," she said.

Instead, "I am being treated like a hardened criminal and I am tired of
it," she said.

Dana lives in Valleyview, northwest of Edmonton. She said she was fired
from a private contract job at an Alberta Registry after disclosing she
uses medical marijuana.

The mother of one feels her new employer - at a hospital, where she works
in patient intake - is discriminating against her for the same reason.

She said her employer has told her she cannot smoke the drug and return to
work because of the smell, and has ordered her to get a form from her
Edmonton doctor stating she needs the drug and her disability is not

"I have to justify the medication that he has already prescribed me for
over a year," Dana said.

Before undergoing a hysterectomy, Dana said she took everything from T3s
to fentanyl and would be bedridden for days. Her husband says he feared
the drugs would kill her.

Dr. Charl Els, a psychiatrist and addictions specialist at the University
of Alberta, said marijuana users in general are notoriously bad at judging
their own impairment level. But, he said, employers are obligated to
accommodate workers who are legally accessing medication.

"They cannot simply say this is not allowed," he said. "They do have a
legal duty to accommodate, to the point of undue hardship."

A spokesperson for Alberta Health Services, which runs the Valleyview
hospital, said AHS cannot comment on the specific case but "encourages any
employee with concerns about support in their workplace to bring those
forward to their leaders."

AHS is developing a medical cannabis policy.
- ---
MAP posted-by: