MOSES LAKE - Employers aren't required to accommodate the medical use of marijuana at work, according to a human resource consultant quoting state law.
"You do not have to set aside a roach room for them to smoke," said Larry Hellie, of the Vancouver, Wash.-based Hellie Human Resource Consulting. "Females may get the right to have a lactation room, but dopeheads don't get a pot room."
Before about 20 people, Hellie talked about the differences between federal law and state law governing medical marijuana use Thursday during an event held by the Adams-Grant Human Resource Association.
Washington is one of 14 states allowing medical marijuana use after voters approved a measure in 1998. But federal law doesn't allow it.
"It was poorly written. (The) law ... created a lot of confusion," Hellie said. "Nothing in this chapter requires any accommodation of medical use."
Those locations include any place of employment, in any school bus, on school grounds and at youth centers and correctional facilities.
People can still be arrested in this state for being under the influence of marijuana.
The state law says public smoking of the substance isn't allowed.
But those receiving medical authorization can have a 60-day supply of marijuana. Nonetheless, a medical authorization isn't a prescription because class 1 drugs cannot be prescribed.
Like Washington, the other states allowing medical marijuana use do so through medical authorizations. If prescriptions are written, "they know the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will come down on them like a ton of bricks," he said.
"They will shut down any doctor who has written a prescription for medical marijuana," Hellie commented.
Employers are not required to accommodate the use of marijuana, period, he said.
"Federal law says it's bogus," Hellie added.
He claimed there is no doctor/patient relationship between people using medical marijuana.
"It's like buying Viagra over the Internet from someone in Florida," he said.
The most contentious issue over the state law is how much a patient needs and what constitutes a 60-day supply of marijuana.
Changes were made to the state's law this year.
One of the changes allows advanced registered nurse practitioners, naturopathic physicians, medical physician assistants and osteopathic physicians as providers able to recommend medical marijuana, according to the state Department of Health's Web site.
Another change requires that recommendations made on or after June 10 be written on tamper-resistant paper.
Hellie also spoke about establishing and enforcing drug-free workplace policies.