Corrections officer fired over medical marijuana use

Posted at: 05/23/2013 6:18 PM
Updated at: 05/23/2013 9:02 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A Bernalillo corrections officer said he was fired after he tested positive for marijuana. A drug, veteran Augustine Stanley, said he was prescribed to take.

Stanley said after he lost his job, he lost everything.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 spoke to the county attorney about the termination. Randy Autio told KOB 4 the situation is "tough”. Autio said the county understands Stanley had a prescription, but because of his position at the Bernalillo County jail, they couldn’t allow it.

Life has been tough for Stanley as he struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“Some days it’s super hard. I don’t know if I can describe it in a way that anyone can understand the things I go through on a daily basis. It’s very hard to be (sic) functional,” said Stanley.

But he and his doctors found something to help and that was marijuana.

“It’s given me my life back. It’s given me my family back,” added Stanley.

Stanley had been working at Metropolitan Detention Center since 1999 and says he never had any problems until a routine drug test in January changed everything. He was fired on the spot.

“It don’t feel right at all. I thought I took all the right steps and went in all the right directions to do all the right things that needed to be done, seeking help from all the right people. I thought I was doing the right thing,” said Stanley.

Stanley not only lost his job, he lost his home.

Stanley said he had proof from his doctors that he needed medical marijuana. But Autio said because of Stanley’s job as a corrections officer illegal and controlled substance is unacceptable, prescribed or not.

“How do you explain that to your spouse and your kids? That everything we worked for or saved up or is gone now,” added Stanley.

Stanley said the county has offered to give him four months worth of back pay, but he said that’s not enough. He’s in the middle of an appeal process to try to get his job back.