ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Orange County is telling its employees: forget Florida’s new medical marijuana law. If we find out you’ve used any kind of marijuana, you’re fired.
The county sent a memo to its workers stating "the use of marijuana in any form continues to be prohibited by federal law and county policy." County officials said it all boils down to money.
The county gets financial incentives from the state for earning the title "drug-free" workplace. If they allow workers to use medical marijuana that money goes away. County workers we spoke with say they're resigned to the reality.
“It's the policy of the county,” says county employee Ron Branch, “if you want to work here, you've got to comply with the policies. That's the way I feel about it.”
“Against the policy is against the policy,” says county employee Carmen Ramos, “you can't do nothing about that.”
The debate between state law and workplace rules isn't just happening in Florida. We checked into the situation in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, where recreational pot is legal. All have added laws that allow the individual workplace or company to follow their own rules, even if they go against the voters.
We spoke by video chat with Amanda Wingfield Goldman, a labor and employment lawyer. She says workers in other states have tried to sue employers over this, with no luck.
“And they've been fired because they didn't pass a drug test,” Goldman says, “but maybe they hold a medical marijuana card. The courts have upheld the employer's right to enforce a drug free workplace.”
We also checked into situation in the City of Orlando. Workers could also get fired for using any type of marijuana.