Posts Tagged ‘Drugs’

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Getting Fired for Medical Marijuana Use: Why Should Employers Drug Test At All?

09.15.10

Many people are affected by the drug war.  Just take a look at our southern border.

But those aren’t the only ones.

While the states work the whole federalism angle on the legality of marijuana use, there’s bound to be some snags.  And in the case of some people, it’s costing them their jobs.

Glenn Greenwald:

In some cases, workers have been fired for failing drug tests despite having prescriptions saying, in effect, that what they are doing is legal according to the laws of their states.

Here’s the thing: for an employer, you want your employees to be efficient, dependable, and hard-working. If an employee can accomplish all of this while smoking weed — legally prescribed or not — then what’s the issue? If he’s a total wastoid (yeah, wastoid, I said it, bringing it back along with high-tops and snap braclets), then his piss-poor performance should be enough to warrant disciplinary action, regardless of its cause.

Now, I do understand that there are HR costs involved with the hiring of a new employee so companies will want to best determine whether or not this applicant will be a quality addition to their team before they hire him — but, why test current employees?  You already hired them! They already passed your rigorous interview process (so, if they’re sucking at work then you might want to look into revamping your HR department, not firing your employee cause he takes a few puffs to ease his anxiety).  They’re doing their jobs competently, otherwise you could just drag them onto the carpet for their poor job review and cut the dead weight that way.   It’s pointless.

The problem with drug testing is that – NEWS FLASH!!!not all wastes-of-office-space take drugs and not all druggies are inept at work, despite what our current drug war culture would like you to believe. (Total mindblow, I know.)  It’s the whole “well, some pot smokers are lazy and don’t get anything done at work so we’re going to punish them all regardless of their individual aptitude” way of using a gravity bong when a simple one-hitter would suffice.

But since companies fancy themselves as some sort of moral authority now, why stop at drug testing?

  • Why not require me to bring in my hard drive so they can scan it for pirated software and music?
  • Why not scour my glove box to make sure that I indeed have proof of car insurance?
  • Why not stop by my apartment to make sure I’m not illegally leeching some wireless Internet from my neighbors?

I mean, all of those morally questionable practices could affect my job performance, believe you me. Without loads of music to fill my iPod, I’ll go insane at my desk and take my co-workers with me, kicking and screaming. Without car insurance, I could get into an accident, not be able to get a new car, be stuck taking public transport, and consistently arriving late to work irritable and making everyone around my desk miserable as a result.

And without the Internet at home… well, let’s just not imagine that dark, dark world, okay? I just had a glimpse into that lifeless hell when WordPress glitched up, forcing me to re-write this blog, nearly leading me into a total meltdown at my desk — a complete over-reaction, sure, but I almost went social (the post-modern version of going postal).

But, hey. At least I’m not smoking medical herb for my migraines, right?

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Steroids Worse Than Marijuana!

02.12.09

The people have spoken!

According to the first Agree to Disagree Readers’ Poll, 100% have said they find using performance-enhancing drugs to be a more serious infraction for a professional athlete than the use of marijuana.

Shocking?  Not really.  America needs to get off its moral crusade against marijuana.  It won’t happen because people love to shame another group in society to make them feel better about their own vices (that being alcohol and cigarettes) but the more we raise awareness and education, perhaps eventually we’ll have more tolerance.

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Will A-Rod Lose His Sponsors, Too?

02.09.09

Alex Rodriguez took steroids.

Shocking?

Not really.

I don’t even care anymore.  If someone came out and said Michael Jordan took steroids, I wouldn’t be shocked.  I’d be disappointed, but still not shocked.

At the same time, you could give lots of people steroids and workout regiments and put them third in the lineup and you’d never see the results that A-Rod has had.  It’s not like he has no talent or skill and that everything we’ve watched over the years has been the direct result of shooting up or popping some pills.

I’m not condoning steroid use.  It makes the already extremely difficult playing field incredibly unfair to those who are on the cusp of making the grade.  I don’t consider it akin to cheating on a test in college, though.  To me it’s more like having to take a timed test where everyone else has to write it out longhand and A-Rod has a laptop.  It sure makes it easier and quicker by a longshot, but if he couldn’t write, it wouldn’t really help him all that much either way.

And so long as fans want to see home run records broken and there are hundreds of millions of dollars out there in contracts waiting to be doled out, there will be performance-enhancing drug abuse in professional sports.  The public doesn’t want to know about it, but they’ll gladly enjoy watching its benefits pay off when they fork over $60 for a ticket and hot dog at the ballpark and A-Rod steps up to bat with the game on the line.  (The fact that he hasn’t exactly been Mr. Clutch lately notwithstanding.)

It’ll be curious to see how many – if any – sponsors A-Rod will lose after this admission.  If Phelps can lose Kellogg’s to a photo of him taking a rip off a bong, it follows that A-Rod should at least get dropped by some of his sports-related supporters.

Kellogg’s is to munchies what Gatorade is to steroids.  Or something like that.

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Role Models Aren’t Perfect, Nor Should They Be

02.03.09

David Ramsey thinks that Michael Phelps not only betrayed himself, but he also apparently betrayed David Ramsey, as well as you, me, and everyone else who enjoyed watching Phelps swim in the Olympics last summer.

Give me a break.

We don’t know our sports heroes. We think we do. We kid ourselves. We watch them compete a few hours and believe we’ve formed a relationship.

We witness their outlandish physical gifts, and make illogical conclusions. After admiring physical triumph, we fill in the blanks about an athlete’s character.

Listen.  Phelps didn’t beat his girlfriend.  He didn’t knock out some guy at a bar who questioned the sexuality of his chosen profession of swimming.  He didn’t steal from the poor.  He didn’t support dogfighting.

He took a hit off a bong.

The notion of a perfect role model is not only old-fashioned, it’s down right unhealthy.  Anyone who looks up to Michael Phelps and decides that, because of his incredible physical gifts, he is also an equally incredible and nearly perfect human being, is a fool.

David Ramsey says so himself: he filled in the blanks of Phelps’ character.  Ramsey doesn’t personally know Phelps.  He doesn’t call him a friend.  He’s not a family member.  To ascribe such lofty character traits to someone having only watched them via a television set swim in a pool several thousand miles away really only leaves you open for total disappointment.  Because no one is perfect.

Not even someone with a perfect 8-for-8 Gold medals.

And why should we expect him to be?  Perfection is unattainable.  It’s time that we stop placing athletic role models on some high moral pedestal and allow them to be human, to be imperfect, to make mistakes.  To do things that normal 23-year-olds do.

Because in the end, we all make mistakes.  Instead of focusing on the fact that Phelps did do something illegal, let’s watch and see how he handles it and learns from it.   He could’ve denied it and claimed ignorance.  But, he didn’t.  He admitted it and apologized immediately.  To me, that’s the kind of moral fortitude that is not only commendable, but the kind that we should all focus on attaining.  He took responsibility for his actions.

I don’t have children, but I hope that instead of wanting them to be perfect, I’ll encourage them to be responsible for themselves.  Even when they’ve made a mistake.  That’s the kind of lesson they should take from their role models.

If we require perfection of our role models, they’ll always end up being failures.

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Michael Phelps and America’s Moral Ridiculousness

02.02.09

Apparently Olympian Michael Phelps smoked weed.  He’s had to issue a public apology for his “bad judgement.”

It’s time America got over its ridiculous moral snobbery when it comes to marijuana and those who smoke it.

Watching the Super Bowl last night, every single commercial break had at least one spot advertising beer.  Alcohol is respectable but marijuana is morally reprehensible.  Right.

Phelps was pulled over and pled guilty to driving while impaired back in 2004.  I’m sure he issued an apology for that, as well.  And he should’ve.  He threatened people’s lives by driving under the influence.  The same can’t be said for hitting a bong.

I’m not about to argue for the legality of marijuana.  My thoughts on drug laws would be fodder for an entirely different post.  Suffice it to say, though, that while we shouldn’t encourage Phelps and other public stars – or anyone for that matter – to engage in illegal activity, to demonize him and shame him for being such a “bad influence” and for failing to live up to his “role model” identity is pointless and hypocritical.

To judge him is a waste of time.  He may be famous and an incredible athlete, but he’s still just a human.  And we all know how imperfect we humans are.