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Princeton University Worker Told to Choose Medical Pot or Job

PRINCETON, N.J. ― A Princeton University employee and marijuana legalization activist said Tuesday he has been told by his employer to choose between medical marijuana and his job.

Don DeZarn, 48, of East Windsor, said Princeton officials told him that he could not work in his job as senior operations manager of campus dining and use medical marijuana. DeZarn said he hasn’t used medical marijuana while working, but had let university officials know about it if he ever needed to use it for an “emergency situation.”

The U.S. Navy veteran said he is prescribed medical marijuana for inflammatory bowel disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. DeZarn said the “ultimatum” comes as a surprise to him. He is running as a New Jersey congressional candidate for the Legalize Marijuana Party.

“I haven’t hid from that issue,” he said. “I consider myself an activist.”

A Princeton spokesman said the university doesn’t comment on personnel matters.

Under state law, employers do not have to accommodate medical marijuana use in the workplace, but it’s unclear whether they can bar employees from using medical marijuana outside of work.

When asked for clarification on the law, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health said in an email that the department has “no comment beyond what is stated in the law.”

DeZarn said he met with representatives from human resources Tuesday to go over potential accommodations the university could make for him through the federal Americans for Disabilities Act. He said he was told that for now he should not show up for work.

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