Michael Hirsch was fired in December 2015 when co-workers smelled marijuana on his clothes. An arbitrator ruled he’ll get his job back and receive $22,000 in back pay. Pictured: Mile High Green Cross is a recreational and medical marijuana dispensary serving the greater Denver area. (Vince Chandler, The Denver Post)

Cancer survivor and MMJ patient fired for medical pot use gets job back

60-year-old prostate cancer survivor Michael Hirsch used medical marijuana to ease side effects from his treatment

EUGENE, Ore. — An arbitrator has ruled that Lane County erred in firing an employee for his off-duty use of medical marijuana that he says was based on the recommendation of a doctor for side effects from cancer treatment.

The Register-Guard reports Michael Hirsch will be reinstated as a senior programmer and systems analyst. The county has also been ordered to give him nearly $22,000 in back pay.

Arbitrator Jeffrey Jacobs determined the county hadn’t provided evidence indicating Hirsch had used marijuana at work or that his off-duty use affected his performance.

Hirsch, a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor, was fired in December after two employees reported smelling marijuana smoke on his clothing.

County spokesman Jason Davis issued a statement saying the county relies on maintaining “a drug-free workplace” to receive federal funds.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com