Skoric v. Department of Labor

Rutland resident Ivo Skoric has a State-issued medical cannabis card to treat a debilitating condition. Mr. Skoric worked as a bus fueler/washer for a regional transit authority. He lost his job because Federal Department of Transportation regulations required his employer to terminate him after he tested positive for cannabis. 

When Mr. Skoric applied for state-based unemployment, the Vermont Department of Labor denied him a portion of his benefits. In its view, Mr. Skoric had engaged in alleged “misconduct” under state law—even though he had tested positive only because he used state-approved medical cannabis pursuant to a valid prescription. 

At the Vermont Supreme Court on May 29, the ACLU argued that even if an employer has a policy against marijuana, off-duty use of State-authorized marijuana to treat debilitating conditions like Mr. Skoric’s should not count as “misconduct” that disqualifies someone from unemployment benefits. 

Penalizing lawful marijuana use is a vestige of the so-called “war on drugs” and inconsistent with state policy of cannabis legalization. Further penalizing someone for using a substance they have a legal right to use—often to treat chronic medical conditions and disabilities—makes no sense.

The ACLU submitted the amicus brief in question along with Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform and Disability Rights Vermont. Stay tuned for updates about this case.