Brewster woman says she was fired for using prescribed medical marijuana

BOSTON ( - A Brewster woman is at the center of what could be a landmark case in the legalization of medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

Cristina Barbuto claims she was fired for failing a drug test after she told her employer she uses the drug to treat symptoms from Crohn’s Disease.

In September of 2014 Barbuto was excited about starting a new job, but her attorney says that attitude changed after the drug test.

"Before she started working there, they told her she was going to have to take a drug test. She told them that she would most likely fail,” Matt. Fogelman, her attorney, said.

She was prescribed marijuana when a it was voted into law in Massachusetts about two years ago.

“They indicated that would be okay, that they were okay with that. She went to work, she took the test and the results came back and she failed the test and they called her the next day after one day of work and told her that they were terminating her,” Fogelman said.

Fogelman is representing Barbuto in a lawsuit against California based Advantage Sales and Marketing LLC.

FOX25 obtaining the Superior court filing where Barbuto is suing for about $72,000 in lost wages after she claims Advantage told her its offices followed federal laws which still prohibit marijuana use, not state laws which allow it.

“Simply because she was using that medication to treat her condition she was terminated and we believe that is a discriminatory act,” Fogelman said.

Massachusetts' medical marijuana law clearly says employers don't have to accommodate marijuana use in the workplace, but doesn't say anything about forbidding its use outside of work.

FOX25 reached out to Advantage and has not heard back.

Fogelman says Barbuto uses marijuana at night and was never impaired at work. He also said that because she was working an office job, away from children or heavy equipment, there was no safety issue.