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Stop discriminating against marijuana

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Marijuana users are tired of being treated as criminals. Your article [THE FIX, February] noted some 14% of Oregonians have used marijuana in the past year. Some companies have stated that there are highly skilled workers who test positive for cannabis. Marijuana has a long history of discrimination.

As a person who was registered in the medical marijuana program and has a long and safe experience with the drug, I can note that the drug is not as dangerous as most other drugs. It is even safer than aspirin.

Our drug-testing system is broken and needs fixing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported in 1988 that urine testing for marijuana or cannabis does not detect the actual drug (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in the flowering tops of the cannabis plants, and that urine testing for marijuana or cannabis does not indicate impairment or influence at the time the urine sample was collected.

In hearings before the Oregon Senate Business, Transportation and Workforce Committee it was noted that urine testing for cannabis or marijuana couldn’t determine fitness for duty in any workplace setting. Employers must find some other means for determining workplace fitness.

The negative attitude by employers toward marijuana users is unjustified, especially when employees are allowed to drink alcohol with no penalties.

Soon the day will come when urine testing will be outlawed and employers will face hefty lawsuits for their discriminatory attitudes.

Douglas J. Heuer

You are not going to make progress with the drug problem until you stop the “war on some drugs.” Look at three things: caffeine, prescription drugs and alcohol.

Consumption of 10 or more cups of coffee a day (1000 mg of caffeine) is a disease known as caffeinism. People sensitive to caffeine can become addicted with one cup (100mg) a day. A worker can get totally wired on caffeine and that is OK.

If you think I am wrong about this, try an experiment. Randomly select a group of office workers and get them to agree to a three or four-day meeting. Once there, allow no caffeine in any form and see what happens. Be sure to have a medical professional on hand. Caffeine is a serious drug.

What about a worker taking strong beta-blockers? What about the guy who goes on a bender from 6 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Monday, or needs a drink at lunch to make it through the day? Is he safer and more productive than the guy who had a beer and a joint with friends on Friday night?

As long as you allow caffeine, alcohol and prescription-drug impaired people at work, you appear unreasonable to other workers who consider themselves responsible users of some other substance.

These people care enough to never use anything on a workday. They have pride in their work. Don’t treat them like junkies.

Myles J. Swift
Computer Assistance

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