So Is It Illegal Now to Discriminate Against Pot Smokers?

This story is supposedly a “happy ending.” NBC reports, “‘Firing’ Over Legal Marijuana Called Mistake, Man Gets His Job Back.”

This pot controversy went up in smoke.

A Washington state man who was the first person in Spokane to buy legal recreational marijuana this week, and then said he was fired over the resulting media coverage, got his job back Thursday and the company in question called the whole affair a misunderstanding.

Michael Boyer, 30, said he was ordered to take a drug test Tuesday by his part-time employer, temp agency TrueBlue Labor Ready, after he was seen on news reports being the first customer in the city to buy legal weed under the new law.

“We were not aware that he had taken the day off. He was scheduled to work, we saw him on TV that he was under the influence, and that caused us to start a process of screening,” TrueBlue Vice President of Communications Stacey Burke told NBC News. “When we realized that he was not on assignment, we reinstated him. … Pot is legal, and we know that.

Wait! Just wait.

I don’t wish unemployment on Boyer just because he wastes his money, time, and brains. I’m glad TrueBlue finds him a worthy employee and wants to keep him.

But it shouldn’t matter if marijuana is legal or not. If a temp agency doesn’t want to hire drug users that should be their right. No, it is their inalienable right and all governments should recognize that right. They have as much right to decide not to keep a stoner in their employee as Boyer has to decide to get stoned.

Even if a drug is legal, that doesn’t mean it is wise to use it. More importantly, it doesn’t mean that an employer necessarily wants an employee using it. And the employer/employee relationship is supposed to be a voluntary one on both sides. You and your boss both have the right to quit. If TrueBlue didn’t want to become known for having pot-smokers in their labor force, they should be free to make that decision.

That is what has me worried about the anti-libertarian nature of this push to legalize marijuana. People aren’t advocating freedom; they are claiming that marijuana is a public good that everyone much accept—much like homosexual marriage. As I warned back in January, “We live in an insane society where almost anything that is not statutorily criminal is forced on us as something we must believe is good for us.” (also here).

By appealing to the legality of marijuana to explain their decision to continue to employ Boyer, TrueBlue is implying they were legally obligated not to fire him. That simply is not true.

Ironically, Boyer had a far better attitude about being fired (before he got his job back).

Boyer said he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward the company. […]

“When I started this adventure and said I wanted to be the first guy [to buy legal weed in Spokane] … I made my choice,” Boyer said. “I don’t blame anyone, and I don’t regret it, either.”

That’s the way people should think in a free society. Looking to the state to protect you from people who don’t want to hire you will lead to a far worse situation for you and everyone else.