Despite being a legal medical marijuana patient, Scott Martin was fired by the Buffalo Fire Department when he tested positive for pot. Suspended two years ago and let go two months later in 2021, the EMT now has his job back after filing a wrongful termination suit.
The New York State Supreme Court ruled in Martin's favor, tossing Buffalo's request to dismiss the case. Instead, Martin must be reinstated at the same rank, seniority and salary. In additon, he'll receive $240,000 in back pay and will be able to use cannabis off the job.
David C. Holland: "The parties’ agreement to Martin’s reinstatement and the recognition of his rights under the Compassionate Care Act is a reasonable resolution to this dispute."
“I'm glad that I can finally go back to the work I love – protecting the safety of the citizens of the City of Buffalo,” Martin stated.
His lawyer David C. Holland from the firm Prince Lobel explained the significance of the decision: “The rights of medical cannabis patients in the workplace is a cutting-edge legal issue. This was a case of first impression. It involved the proper balancing of the rights of the parties to a collective bargaining agreement when it comes to medically prescribed marijuana. The parties’ agreement to Martin’s reinstatement and the recognition of his rights under the Compassionate Care Act is a reasonable resolution to this dispute. At the national level, I expect to see parties to collective bargaining agreements come to similar accommodations and resolutions.”
Before his dismissal, Martin worked as an EMT in the Buffalo FD for the 12 years. He's also an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Was this anyway treat a veteran and a loyal civil servant? No. But Martin's case will benefit others in legal cannabis states fighting for workers' rights.