The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Meno, MPP Assistant Director of Communications
202-905-2030 or

MPP Calls for National Boycott of Wal-Mart


the nation's largest marijuana policy reform organization called upon
shoppers across the country to boycott Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in order
to protest the unjust and potentially unlawful firing of Joseph Casias, a
29-year-old medical marijuana patient and sinus cancer survivor who
suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. Casias's cancer is in remission,
and marijuana alleviates his pain that resulted from it. The Marijuana
Policy Project is asking shoppers to demand that Wal-Mart abandon its
discriminatory policy of firing employees who are legal medical
marijuana patients under state law.

After dutifully working at a Wal-Mart in Battle
Creek, Michigan, for five years, Casias was suddenly terminated because
he tested positive for marijuana during a drug screening administered
after he sprained his knee on the job. Casias, who was named store
Associate of the Year in 2008, is a registered medical marijuana patient
in Michigan, where it is legal to use medical marijuana with a doctor's

"It's despicable that Wal-Mart would fire such a
hardworking and seriously ill employee simply for treating his symptoms
with a medicine that he is authorized to use under state law," said
Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy
Project and lead drafter of Michigan's medical marijuana law. "Would
Wal-Mart also fire someone for taking doctor-prescribed Percocet, or any
of the other legal medications sold in many of Wal-Mart's own stores?"

Casias's firing violates the "Michigan Medical
Marihuana Act," which reads in part that a qualifying patient shall not
be "denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to ...
disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional
licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana." Under the
law, the definition of "medical use" contains "internal
possession"- having marijuana in one's system. The law does not require
employers to allow the "ingestion of marihuana in any workplace" or
employees to work while under the influence, but there is no allegation
that Casias used marijuana at work or worked while impaired. To
add further insult to injury, Wal-Mart is contesting Casias's
eligibility for unemployment.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the number one organization in the U.S. legalizing cannabis. We passed 13 medical cannabis laws in the past 15 years, and we ran winning campaigns in eight of the 11 legalization states. No organization in the movement has changed as many cannabis laws, impacted as many patients and consumers, created as many new markets, or done more to end cannabis prohibition in the U.S. than MPP.