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Austin EMS removes cannabis disqualifier for employment

On October 21st the Austin EMS Association released a press announcement starting that the Austin EMS (ACTEMS) had removed the disqualifying question for employment.

TXNORML along with Austin EMSA launched a letter campaign to the city council of Austin earlier in October. The campaign resulted in over 3 thousand letters of support being sent in to the city council. The question on employment forms asked if the applicants had used any cannabis products, legal or not, in the last 3 years. Including medical use. This meant that candidates that had even answered yes for hemp products would have been disqualified from employment by EMS.

Jax James, Executive Director of TXNORML told Texas Cannabis Collective, “Discrimination based on legal cannabis use is unethical and not only a disservice to those applying but in the case, a disservice to the whole Austin community.”

James noted that many first responders live with PTSD, which is now a covered condition (TCUP) in Texas. Hemp products are readily available. James was pleased to see the ATCEMS agree to remove the question regarding cannabis use as a disqualifier.

Selena Xie, President of Austin EMSA stated in the press release, “Cannabis is decriminalized or legalized in thirty one states for recreational use. Medical cannabis is legal in thirty six states. Furthermore. the Texas state legislature has
expanded medical cannabis for a PTSO diagnosis. Due to COVID-19 and the nature of EMS work, many of our first responders have PTSD. Up until now. ATC EMS has disqualified candidates from working for ATC EMS if they have had ANY cannabis use in three years.”

ATC EMS agreed to remove the question. This action would not have happened if not for the support from the Austin
NORML community.

If you have any questions. please feel free to reach out: Selena Xie 512-566-4449, or email at President@austinemsa.org.

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