NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA) — In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, KNWA’s Katelynn Zoellner found out certain professions are not protected under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.
Arkansas’ Medical Marijuana Amendment protects people who are qualified patients from being discriminated against by their employer.
“Those people who crafted this amendment, the medical marijuana amendment, they built-in protection for employees,” said Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. “They stated that really someone who has a card or utilizes the product can not be discriminated against because of the fact they are utilizing this as medicine.”
However, there is an exception for people who work in safety or security-sensitive positions. These positions include law enforcement officers, medical personnel and firefighters.
“Certainly a little broad and there’s some interpretation there,” Hardin said. “But, whether it be a law enforcement officer or first responder, those organizations have the ability to make that determination if this is something that we are going to allow our employees to utilize,” Hardin said.
PTSD is one of 18 qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card. While several people who work in the fire service suffer from PTSD, Hardin said they still can not legally use the drug.
“We are implementing this as it was passed and as it was passed it does allow those in safety positions to really prohibit employees from it,” he said.
The amendment states anyone in safety or security-sensitive position can be randomly drug tested. They also must be tested before employment.
If there’s something you want to know about in your community, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@knwa.com.