Longtime casino worker fired after taking medical marijuana for a disability

It's a legal battle over medical marijuana; a Las Vegas man tells his side of the story about why he was fired for taking his medications [Fatima Rahmatullah | KSNV]

A medical marijuana patient recalls the day when was fired from his job of ten years for taking the medicine he needs.

"It was pretty disheartening. I really felt like what am I going to do now," Jeffrey Simmons said.

Simmons who worked as surveillance tech for The Plaza Hotel & Casino has a legal card but after he failed a drug test he lost his job.

He started using medical cannabis in 2012 to treat a disability. The following year he says he alerted the casino of possible asbestos. They asked Simmons to take a drug test, and when it came back positive for marijuana, he was fired for violating company policy.

"It was like what about the people who are doing Loritab every day and coming to work? What about the people who are having those eight or 10 cocktails every night and coming back to work," Simmons said.

He filed for unemployment but the casino opposed his application. Simmons was out of a job for months and says he didn't know what to do.

"On top of that, what list am I that I can't get another job in another casino? I'm very qualified. I've been in the business for 33 years," Simmons said.

It's a growing problem when federal law isn't on the same page as the state, according to Nevada Senator Tick Segerblom.

"That's one of the ironies. You can be on Oxycodone, you could be on Valium, you could be on Xanax; those acceptable if you have a doctor's prescription. But if you have doctor's prescription for medical marijuana, some companies say no," Segerblom said.

The casino failed to give a copy of the drug and alcohol policy to state officials and eventually, Simmons was granted benefits.

"I just felt like kind of really stabbed in the back until the state stood up for me and help me get the unemployment, 'cause it was pretty important," Simmons said.

Simmons is now working in a new industry and hopes the federal law changes.

News 3 reached out to The Plaza Hotel, but the casino will not comment on any personnel matters.

Follow Fatima Rahmatullah on Facebook and Twitter @FatimaNews3LV

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