Legal Blog

Telebriefs®: Are Employees Allowed to Use Medical Cannabis?

On July 17th, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that an employee was wrongfully terminated when her employer failed to engage in a mandated dialogue with her regarding her prescribed medical cannabis use. In this case, Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, a woman named Cristina Barbuto, who suffers from Crohn’s disease and uses medical cannabis to relieve her symptoms, was hired in 2014 by Advantage Sales and Marketing, contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a pre-employment drug test. Prior to taking the test, Barbuto informed management of her Crohn’s disease and prescribed medical cannabis use. She submitted to a mandatory pre-employment drug screen, was hired by the company, and later the drug test came back positive for cannabis and she was subsequently terminated. Barbuto filed a lawsuit against the company, which was dismissed at the trial level but she subsequently appealed the dismissal to the Massachusetts Supreme Court. The Court decided that under Massachusetts Civil Rights Law, the company should have engaged in an interactive dialogue with Barbuto to determine whether her medical use of prescribed cannabis could be accommodated. Only time will tell if similar court rulings will appear in other states where medical cannabis is legal, such as Maryland and Pennsylvania. To learn more about employee use of medical cannabis and the issues such use pose for employers, listen to this week’s Telebrief here.

Also in this week’s Telebrief: the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service issued a release a revised I-9 form and the importance of workplace harassment training.

Questions about ­­­­­the NLRB or other topics from this week’s Telebrief?

Contact Howard K. Kurman at or 410-209-6417.


About the Telebriefs®

The Telebriefs® are 30-minute, information-packed phone calls geared towards executives, HR directors, supervisors, managers, and business owners. Join Howard K. Kurman, as he discusses employment law developments occurring over the past two weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. These twice-monthly phone calls are an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest employment law developments that will significantly affect you and your company. The goal is to provide information and insights to help executives stay current with the latest workplace law developments and in front of trends, to enable proactive policy-making and management. Our guarantee: You will learn something useful, on every call!


Howard Kurman Casual-SmallHoward K. Kurman is an employment attorney. Mr. Kurman regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues. He represents employers ranging in size from as small as 20 employees to those employers with geographically disparate locations consisting of over 4,000 employees. Mr. Kurman assures, through regular contact with his clients, that they promulgate and maintain the most effective employment policies that will, to the extent possible, minimize their legal exposure in today’s litigious workplace. Mr. Kurman offers advice on employee handbooks, employment agreements, and covenants not to compete as well as confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Previously, Mr. Kurman was the chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.

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