Medical Marijuana Patients in Florida should not have to choose between having a successful career and using a life-saving medication. A lawsuit has been filed against Hillsborough County for that very issue. Angelo Giambrone, a well respected, highly evaluated paramedic and firefighter was placed on unpaid suspension over a year ago for testing positive for his medical cannabis.The very agency which he dutifully servedfor over 10 years, and as a result of events which occurred during his employment that brought about his Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, is preventing him from using the only medication effective in treating his condition. He has been fighting for his right to use his medication ever since.The Department was allegedly going to give him back his positionafter the Department of Health determined as to whether he violated the requirements of his state license. Despite the Department of Health finding he did not violate the state policesthe County still refuses to permit the Plaintiff to return to work if he tests positive for medical marijuana. This lawsuit has been filed to force them to give him back his job, compensate him for back pay andrequire them to treat him with respect and consideration for his use of medical marijuana.
"For me personally what drives a passion in my life is being able to make a difference in other's lives, and I can achieve that in my role as a firefighter and paramedic. Being able to protect and serve the community that I call home is rewarding to me. It has been especially difficult not being able to help during the pandemic knowing I am a highly trained experienced resource. The cannabis medication helps my mind and body; additionally, it never affects my judgment and skills while on duty. This is about my ability to use my doctor recommended medication off work hours in the privacy of my own home. It is sad that I could use any other prescribed medication without fearing sanctions or losing my job. It's disheartening that the county, a business about helping people, is in a state where medical marijuana is embedded in the Constitution could be so prejudiced against a medication that is life changing and to some life saving. Instead of being informed on the matter and supportive to me they were judgmental and narrow minded" , stated Mr. Giambrone.
The Case was filed by Minardi Law, and alleges Hillsborough breached their contract with Mr. Giambrone and has violated the Florida Constitution by suspending Mr. Giambrone for being a qualified patient.
"Amendment 2 provides that schools are not required to allowpatientsto use their medicine on site. Like, John Morgan's smoking lawsuit, patients should have a right to medicate in their own home and not jeopardize losing their job." Said Karen Goldstein, Executive Director of NORML of Florida.
The plaintiff is seeking over One-hundred fifty-thousand dollars in damages for his loss of pay since being suspended.