Free Senator Dean Heller Essay Example
324 State Senate Office Building
Phone: (202) 224-6244
Fax: (202) 228-6753
Dear Senator Heller:
Re: H.R.499 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition
Please find attached and enclosed a policy brief addressing the impact of H.R.499 on Employment Screening for Drug Testing Regarding Medical and/or Decriminalized Use of Marijuana.
Respectfully, Honorable Sir, I submit unto you concerns and implications regarding H.R.499 which as you are aware is the proposed statute that would decriminalize marijuana at Federal level. Specifically, the issue herein revolves around the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding responsible American citizens who are gainfully employed (or will be) and who may unjustly encounter employer drug-testing screens. Failing such a medical drug-screening of cannabis while so permitted to alleviate adverse conditions of health, followed by an employee losing their job does not seem fair. Realizing that the tides of the era are shifting, in sorting out the complex issue of legal regulating medical and/or recreational use of cannabis is complex, however serious contradictions fly in the face of justice when an excellent employee is discharged – or may be in danger of – due to their medicinal usage of cannabis.
Recent news, as gleaned from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s website/information, announced the House passage of a bill that would end DEA raids on legitimately legal marijuana dispensaries. While it is true that this is progress in the right direction, many Americans fear losing their jobs when they need medical marijuana treatment for pain, nausea, or other bio-physiological ills which allow them to effectively engage in the fruitful dignity of maintaining their livelihoods. Hopefully, the policy brief herein will give reasonable evidence as a prescient forerunner to make appropriate adjusting amendments to current and future bills so related.
Thank you for your time and consideration in being an intelligent voice for your constituents, as your input is crucial in utilizing common sense in ongoing resolutions of this matter. I believe this is important and correlates to both health and employment issues.
(Name, designation, w/proper spacing of close)
Issues of Employment Drug-Screening in Consideration of Bill H.R.499
Bill H.R.499 introduced a statute for consideration that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Meanwhile, Americans need to work to sustain themselves, and when employers implement drug-screening which may endanger their jobs if cannabis is detected, seems an unfair, unjust, and extreme draconian measure imposed on responsible law-abiding citizens who contribute to the productivity of the nation.
Issue and Background: Scope of the Problem
No reasonable minded citizen is requesting utter lawlessness, nor an excuse for addictive behaviors of any drug or alcohol. But the conflict is clear. As the nation progresses toward greener solutions in every arena, it makes little sense to for employers to punish responsibly diligent and effective workers for testing positively for cannabis so found in their bio-tissues.
Part of the confusion is that various States are scrambling to institute legislation of their own regarding decriminalization, legalization, or such in terms of medical marijuana (or recreational as in the case of Colorado and Washington) usage. For example, New Hampshire bill HB 618 got their State “off to a great start” implementing the “sensible bill” to reduce punishable fines virtually by 75-90 percent (“New Hampshire”). There is a serious problem with drug abuse in the nation, as with preventable conditions such as cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Our own federal government website by the National Institute on Drug Abuse warns “People often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed and for the purpose intended” (“DrugFacts”). In a graph depicting marijuana and hashish as so-deemed ‘illicit’ drugs, 35.1 percent of 12th-graders commonly ingest it. Safe and legalized regulation of cannabis should prohibit minors’ usage, thus establishing channels to advance proper health education, and encourage sensible conduct.
Also, the fact that alcohol, a widely available over-the-counter substance has a known statistical record for causing deaths in data showing tragedies from drunk driving. The highly respected and federally/nationally recognized organization of M.A.D.D. (Mothers against Drunk Driving) reflects the following stunning drunk driving statistics:
“50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive” on suspended licenses
In the U.S. drunk driving deaths half reduced to half since MADD’s existence
Highest rates are among 20-year-olds
Every 120 seconds someone is hurt in a drunk driving accident
Outrageous economic losses in drunken driving costs the U.S. $199 billion annually
Furthermore, numbers from the Insurance Information Institute indicate that over 10,000 people died in 2013 “in the U.S” from alcohol-relevant auto crashes (“Drunk Driving”). Additionally, drunk driving fatalities account for three of five “highway deaths on U.S. roads,” with the frequency of such alcohol-induced traffic fatality occurring “every 52 minutes in 2013.” (“Drunk Driving”). These statistics were drawn from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The point in this analysis does not argue that marijuana usage lacks any potential or propensity for abuse, but rather that the level of escalated known dangers are nowhere near what they are for alcohol – a perfectly legal substance.
Conclusions and Recommendations: A Call to Action
Legal experts other than Ford and Ludlum, as previously cited, agree that the present laws are inefficient to address the entire scope of the situation. Chang states “Among those states with medical marijuana laws, requirements differ, and federal law prohibits marijuana use under almost every circumstance” (1). See the problem? Nobody is asking for an unregulated free-for-all. It seems that a win-win situation would ensue if employers were mandated to not penalize their employees, in circumstances wherein its usage would not have ill effects on their performance. The bottom line is that there are so many mixed messages, in terms of Federal law and State liberties and regulations. Chang notes “In the states where medical marijuana is legal, very few laws indicate how its use impacts employment rights” (3). Therefore sir, I call upon your cogent powers of mind to help regulate marijuana statutes wisely, fairly, and prudently as they unfold and affect working Americans who may possibly find themselves under the auspices of prescriptive medical cannabis care. Anything can be abused, even doughnuts and overeating.
Chang, Kabrina Krebel. “High Risk Employment: The Management Headache over Medical Marijuana.” Journal of Legal Studies in Business 18. (2013): 1-15. Business Source Complete. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
“DrugFacts: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications.” Drugabuse.gov National Institute on Drug Abuse – the Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction, n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
“Drunk Driving April 2015.” Iii.org Insurance Information Institute, 2015. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
“Drunk Driving Statistics.” Madd.org Mothers against Drunk Driving, n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
Ford, Darrell G., and Marty Ludlum. “Medical Marijuana and Employment Discrimination.” Southern Law Journal 23.2 (2013): 289-310. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
“House Passes Historic Law to End Federal Interference in CA’s Marijuana Laws: Tell California’s Senators to do the same.” Canorml.org California Norml, n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
“Senators of the 114th Congress.” United States Senate. United States Senate, 2015. Web. 5 Apr.
“New Hampshire – N.H. House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill.” Mpp.org Marijuana Policy Project, n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.
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