From Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML:
It’s come to our attention that UC San Francisco discriminates against workers who use marijuana for medical purposes.
Cal NORML received a phone call from a custodial worker who is employed by an independent contractor serving the UC system. He has been using medical cannabis for years and had no problems doing jobs at UC Berkeley. However, he was drug tested for a recent assignment to UC San Francisco. Although he told them that he had an MDs recommendation for marijuana, they refused to let him work because of a positive urine test.
It’s inexcusable that the UC system’s premier medical school should be using urine tests to discriminate against workers. There exists no basis in medical science for urine tests being a reliable or useful measure of job fitness, especially with regard to medical cannabis use.
A bill to ban employment discrimination against medical cannabis usewas proposed this year by Asm. Rob Bonta, co-sponsored by Cal NORML, UFCW and SEIU. The bill has stalled in the Assembly, but we plan to come back with it next year.
Retro message: At a recent meeting of the state medical board, Katherine Feinstein —a fair-minded, humane San Francisco judge, now retired— said she didn’t understand why UCSF Medical Center physicians, who are employed by the state, could not issue cannabis approvals to patients. Sharon Levine, MD, said it was probably out of fear that federal funding could be cut off.
But realistically, no funding would be cut off without a warning. So UC could at least make the gesture of honoring California law and then retreat if and when ordered to. The UC administrators simply use the federal threat as an excuse to accept prohibition.
The single-issue approach to politics can blind us to an equally important aspect of the situation described by Gieringer: Why do UC hospitals not employ their own housekeeping staff? Shouldn’t keeping the place clean be a hospital’s top priority? UCSF was cutting back on orderlies and janitors throughout the 13 years I worked there —while the useless administrators kept raising their salaries and hiring more assistants.
For most of its history the University of California got along fine with a small President’s office on the UC Berkeley campus. Today the President’s office is in a huge office building overlooking Lake Merritt in Oakland and has nearly 170o employees.
As reported by the Sacramento Bee, a 2017 audit found that UC President Janet Napolitano’s office had “systematically overcharged UC campuses to fund its central administrative functions and had amassed $175 million in undisclosed reserves, even as it raised tuition.
“State auditor Elaine Howle also slammed the university for inhibiting her efforts to determine whether the Office of the President’s expansive duties and nearly 1,700 employees could be slimmed down. A survey for UC’s ten campuses, to assess what administrative functions they found valuable, was abandoned after Howle discovered that Napolitano’s office ordered significant revisions to critical responses.”
Getting back to the drug-testing issue… Tod Mikuriya, MD, once produced this bumper sticker in which the 4th Amendment —our protection against warrantless searches— is being pissed on:
Now that “the movement” has become “the industry,” who but the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and NORML are fighting for patients’ rights?