New York City Taxi Driver Wins Medical Marijuana Discrimination Case
The taxi driver had his license revoked due to his medical marijuana use.
Published on August 29, 2017

In another victory for medical marijuana patients, a New York City administrative board has ruled that a taxi driver cannot have his license revoked for using medical cannabis. In July, the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) revoked a taxi driver's TLC Driver License, which every NYC taxi driver is required to have, because he tested positive for marijuana.

However, the driver in question was a licensed medical marijuana patient, and was therefore legally allowed to use the drug. The New York City Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings (OATH) issued a report and a recommendation to the TLC to reverse their decision because revoking a license over legal medical marijuana use would violate both city and state laws.

The New York Compassionate Care Act states that certified patients cannot be subject to penalties or denied any rights or privileges solely due to their medical cannabis use. The OATH decision stated that the TLC's revocation of the driver's license due to illegal drug use was therefore unjustified in this case, because the driver's use of cannabis was fully legal under the Compassionate Care Act.

In the recommendation, OATH also noted that any legally registered medical cannabis user is considered to have a disability under the New York State Human Rights Law. This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, as does the New York City Human Rights Law, and the revocation of the driver's TLC license for legal cannabis use could constitute illegal discrimination under both of these laws.

Although the case only involved a licensee rather than a full employee, the decision sets a positive precedent for medical cannabis users. OATH hears appeals from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and it is likely that they would also support employees at risk of being fired over their legal medical cannabis use.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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