Nurse sues Phoenix health system over medical marijuana policy

An emergency room nurse filed a lawsuit against Phoenix-based Valleywise Health Feb. 5, alleging the health system's ban on employee medical marijuana use is discriminatory and violates state law, reports the Phoenix New Times.

In December, Timothy Costello, 47, received a medical marijuana card — in place of prescription drugs — to treat his chronic back pain and difficulty sleeping. Mr. Costello disclosed this health decision to his superiors, who informed him that he'd be fired if he tested positive for marijuana.

The lawsuit, which is not seeking any monetary damages, claims Valleywise Health is violating antidiscrimination policies outlined in Arizona's 2010 Medical Marijuana Act. The suit also contends that a 2011 state law permitting employers to fire individuals in "safety sensitive roles" for marijuana use is unconstitutional.

Valleywise Health declined the Phoenix New Times' request to comment on the pending litigation. Mr. Costello has not yet used medical marijuana and is still employed at the health system.

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