Weed or Your Job: Which Would You Choose?

By Shawn Dwyer 09/02/14

Marijuana legalization advocate and Princeton University employee Don DeZarn will soon have to make such a choice.

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A Princeton University worker and participant in New Jersey's medical marijuana program has been told by his employer that he would lose his job if he continues to use medical weed.

Don DeZarn, 48, from East Windsor, N.J., is a U.S. Navy veteran who suffers from inflammatory bowel disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. He currently works as a senior operations manager for campus dining and informed his employer last week that he is participating in the state's medical marijuana program to treat the symptoms of his ailments. He stated that he's using a form of medical marijuana that is low in THC.

Turns out that DeZarn is also running as a New Jersey congressional candidate for the Legalize Marijuana Party. "I haven't hid from that issue," DeZarn said. "I consider myself an activist."

While it's clear that New Jersey state law says that an employer need not accommodate medical marijuana in the workplace, it's unclear whether or not they can bar workers from using it on their own time. DeZarn met with human resources, where he was informed that an investigation would be conducted into the matter. Hours later, DeZarn was ordered to leave campus.

"I have decided that I will return to work at my regular position tomorrow and will conduct myself just like any other university employee," DeZarn wrote on Facebook following the meeting. "When it becomes necessary to medicate with a medicine prescribed to me by a licensed physician, I will do just that."

"I will deal with the consequences, whatever they might be," he continued. "All I have ever asked for is to be treated just like any other employee. We shall see what tomorrow brings."

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.