By Associated Press • 

Oregon TV anchor fired after testing positive for marijuana

 

EUGENE — An Oregon television anchor has turned into a marijuana activist after being fired for testing positive for the drug.

Cyd Maurer, a morning weekend anchor at Eugene's ABC affiliate KEZI-TV, said she was fired in May after getting into a minor accident while on assignment. In a video posted online, Maurer said that after the accident she was forced to take a drug test per company policy and failed it.

Maurer, 25, said she was completely sober at work and had used the marijuana several days before. Studies show marijuana, unlike alcohol, can be detected in some people for days after use — or even weeks, in case of frequent users.

Maurer, who has been working in television for the past three years and is a University of Oregon graduate, said she didn't do anything wrong and felt the firing was discriminatory.

“I don't fit the lazy stupid loser stereotype,” she said, adding she's a responsible user and has never come to work impaired.

KEZI general manager Mike Boring declined comment. “We do not discuss personnel matters,” Boring said.

Recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon in July, after Maurer was fired. But even if the incident had happened after legalization, according to the state, KEZI still would have had the right to have a testing policy. Measure 91, which legalized possession and consumption, does not affect existing employment law. Employers who require drug testing can continue to do so, Oregon officials said.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even though more than twenty states — including Oregon — allow medical marijuana use. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C., also allow recreational use.

Kate Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the Society for Human Resource Management, said the organization has received numerous questions from members around the country about the effects of changing state marijuana laws on drug testing. At two national conferences this year, she said, training sessions about drug testing were packed to overflowing.

“HR professionals are trying to keep up to date with laws and make sure their policies incorporate the changing landscape legally,” Kennedy said.

In June, a court in Colorado ruled that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back. The patient, a quadriplegic, said he didn't use the drug at work. The company, Dish Network, agreed that he wasn't high on the job, but it said it has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, use of the drug couldn't be considered legal off-duty activity.

The case was being watched closely by employers and pot smokers in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. Supreme courts in California, Montana and Washington state have made similar rulings in the past.

Over a decade ago in Oregon, a forklift driver who had a medical marijuana card was also fired after taking a drug test following an accident at work. The state found no evidence he had been impaired on the job.

But Maurer, the fired anchor, said she was tired of hiding the use of a substance that's now legal in the state and wants to start a conversation about the drug. She's also planning a new career in the marijuana industry.

Comments

TTT

So a U of O grad tests positive for marijuana... I'm shocked.

Lulu

Sure, watch her go from her go from a few tokes to mainlining heroin.
She should fight this stupid decision.

Mudstump

Having THC in one's system does not mean that one is high since it can be detected for as much as 30 days after one consumes marijuana. With the legalization of recreational marijuana a test that determines if one is currently under the influence is needed, but I understand these tests are expensive. Same goes for traffic stops. A person can be charged with DUI without even being high simply because THC is in the person's system. With legalization our testing methods need to change to be fair and just.

Seabiscuit

Mudstump, How does a person get charged with DUII without being "high" or at least influenced to a perceptible degree?

There has to be a reason for the traffic stop - most often some type of erratic driving pattern. Then there has to be a reason to believe the person is under the influence of an intoxicant, most commonly the failure of roadside tests. Then the person has to be arrest for DUII before the test is even done, if the person consents.

Quite a bit of evidence is needed before they even get to the point of attempting to get a sample to determine THC level.

As to the news reporter, I suspect the Broadcast Company's insurance company has a tremendous amount to say about employees driving company vehicles after having consumed any intoxicant that they test positive for. The companies I worked for, it was an automatic termination if the insurance company refused to insure the employee for any reason.

I'm also quite certain that this person was fully aware of the company policy against intoxicants, fully aware of how long a test might show positive, fully aware of company testing policies and chose instead to tell her boss take a flying leap because she is her own boss and doesn't need to follow his rules.

Marijuana was legalized in Oregon, but not federally and it is only by an order to ignore it (you know, something like that resolution passed by our county commissioners in regards to SB 941....) that marijuana violations are not being charged by the feds. A change in administrations could very well change that as well.

Joel2828

She would do better to just go get a new job and stop being a stoner.

Juris

Marijuana levels in urine are sometimes difficult to correlate to the level, if any, of impairment, but she should reveal the LEVEL of marijuana in her urine test. If it was only a preliminary test (such as a "Redicup") with no confirmation and level determination, that is something she could have obtained, or is concealing, unless it is something she does not want her employer, law enforcement, her insurance carrier or others to know. Remember, she was not just terminated for marijuana, she was in a collision "fenderbender" while on duty, hence the reason for the urine test leading to the positive for marijuana.
The level DOES give some indication as to how recently the drug was used and some indication of the level of THC that could impair her driving. The collision itself could be an indicator of impairment.
She is (was) a reporter. Why is she not telling the whole story unless it is to paint herself as the victim, possibly gain from MJ endorsements, etc.
I don't have much sympathy for her when she will not tell the whole truth.

Yourright

Lulu, seabiscuit: you don't go from cannabis to shooting up, also having thc in a urinalysis test does not get you a duii. It is not thc they test for stupid it is the metabolites from it being broke down. Both of you are u intelligent on this subject and should not post. All you did was make yourself look like JAs. cannabis is here to stay. As it should have been decades ago. All the billions of dollars and millions of people convicted over a plant was ludicrous. If you even studied a little on a subject you so wish to comment on you wouldn't sound stupid.

sbagwell

Sounds to me as if someone has been smoking too much weed.

u think?

Lulu

Yourright--My comment was intended to be ironic. Maybe you could look up the definition. In this case, yourwrong.

miketubbs1

I'd viewed your comment as being more facetious, than ironic, Lulu.

Seabiscuit

Yourright, that has got to be one of the most profoundly, intellectual and intelligent posts I have read here in quite some time.
When trolling and embarrassing yourself try to get your writing skills above the kindergarten level. Steve Bagwell was way too kind in his post.

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