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So in light of the House Judiciary Committee passing legislation to remove the prohibition of marijuana, it fired up another discussion at the hospital about whether we all agreed with it or not.
One of the proponents said that, while it may take time, if it becomes federally legal, sooner or later the laws in all localities will catch up and drug testing by employers will no longer include THC. She also made the claim that one of the big hangups for keeping it illegal for people like us (healthcare workers) is that the test is not sensitive enough: they can't know if it's positive because you smoked last week when you we on vacation, or if you blazed up a joint with your morning cup of coffee.

While I wish that were true, and if I thought it was, I'd be tempted to follow suit with her game plan, I do not believe it is. Nicotine has never been illegal in country, yet our employer tests for it on their drug tests and refuses employment as a result. There is zero percent of me that thinks that even if it were federally and locally legal to use recreationally our employer wouldn't still test for it and still make abstaining a condition of employment.
I don't believe our country should have arbitrary classes of people that are or aren't allowed to do stuff. And if there are classes of people separated out, there should be verifiable, logical reasons why.
When this was posed to her, she claimed that there was a logical reason we're a separate class that can't have the same rights: we're healthcare professionals that could be under the influence if there wasn't a test to tell otherwise.
On its face, that seems like a good argument, but it's really not if you think about it. Yes, we're medical professionals. Professionals. There are plenty of things we could do to catch a buzz while we're working. I could drink half a bottle of cough syrup or huff some paint thinner in the locker room and that shit wouldn't show up on any drug test. But I don't. There is some level of trust that we must put in these people for the system to be able to function. Will a tiny fraction of people come to work high, of course, but they're probably already doing it. I don't imagine people are going to start risking the safety of their patients just because marijuana was legalized. Those are two different things entirely. It's the same reason I go to bed early on work nights. I believe (know) being well rested and alert is one of the best things I can do during my off time to benefit my patients when I'm there. There's no law or rule that says I have to get a full night's sleep. I do it because it's the right thing to do. And not smoking a joint before my work day would be no different. I'm not suddenly going to compromise my beliefs just because I could have an easier time getting away with it.
Additionally, I don't believe in half measures. Especially when those half measures can hinder progress to the ultimate goal. If we legalize for some, how motivated will they all be to continue to fight for total legalization?
What if we legalized for almost everyone? Then it may not even matter how much or little the voters would still be energized if the people that have the most to gain financially from legalization don't think the few people left it's still illegal for are worth the resources it would take. Would we have been okay with a half measure in Loving v Virginia that said interracial marriages were legal only up to a certain disparity between skin tones?

So, what are your thoughts? Is she right and you take whatever bits you can get? Am I right and we should stick together, all or nothing? Are you somewhere in the middle?

Where do you stand on this debate?

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JeffMurray 8 Sep 30
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