ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried held a virtual chat on Friday to discuss modernizing policies after a Brevard County teacher was fired for using medical marijuana.
The discussion included Brevard Federation of Teachers Vice President Vanessa Skipper and former teacher Allison Enright.
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Enright was fired last month after her medical marijuana use was disclosed following a drug test after an injury at work.
“No one should have to choose between their health and their job,” Enright said. “It’s just a choice that shouldn’t have to be.”
Enright spoke about how she was prescribed opioids and was bound to a wheelchair until turning to medical marijuana.
“Allison is using it for a better quality of life and she should not be penalized for making a personal health decision with her doctor to get off opioids,” Fried said.
Though medical marijuana has been legalized in Florida, it remains a “schedule 1” narcotic at the federal level, placing it in the same category as heroin, LSD and methamphetamines.
The district said it can’t allow teachers to use marijuana without risking the possibility of losing federal funding.
“Obviously, this is going to be a long fight and a long battle,” Skipper said. “Policies need to change.”
Currently, bills are in the Florida legislature to create employee protections, but it doesn’t appear they will pass.
While Fried said she’s working to gain further support, the Brevard County teacher’s union has said it is appealing the school board’s decision.
A fund has been established to help Enright while she is out of work.