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NY park ranger loses job, denied law enforcement positions over pot text



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A Lengthy Island man claims he was turned down from jobs in legislation enforcement and misplaced his place as a park ranger all due to a textual content message telling his spouse to not smoke an excessive amount of pot along with her mother — who had a medical marijuana license.

“Every thing has been stripped away from me, and I really feel I’m by no means going to get forward,” Nicholas Aponte, 32, of Hauppauge, informed The Publish.

“It’s nearly scary for me to even apply for a job now.”

Aponte says he was unfairly compelled out of his job as an Islip park ranger — which he held for lower than a 12 months — and denied jobs as an NYPD cop and a state trooper merely due to his affiliation together with his mother-in-law, who had a medical marijuana license, in line with a Manhattan Supreme Court docket lawsuit from Thursday.

The textual content message got here to mild throughout a 2019 vetting interview for the trooper place after Aponte already handed exams for the NYPD and state police, the courtroom papers say.

Former Park Ranger Nicholas Aponte
Nicholas Aponte says he was fired as an Islip park ranger in 2019 and denied jobs in legislation enforcement as a result of he texted his spouse to not smoke an excessive amount of weed along with her mother.
Courtesy of John Scola

The investigator went by way of Aponte’s textual content messages and located certainly one of him telling his spouse Maria Aponte to not smoke an excessive amount of weed along with her mom, Maria Marro.

Marro has had a medical marijuana license since 2016, and makes use of the drug to assist her deal with sleep apnea, melancholy and anxiousness, the courtroom papers say. Aponte and his spouse have been Marro’s caretakers, the courtroom paperwork say.

Aponte — who already handed a drug take a look at — informed the investigator he doesn’t smoke marijuana, however the investigator informed him he couldn’t grow to be a state trooper due to the message, the submitting alleges.

“I’m passing all the things; I’m certified to do the job; I handed my drug take a look at and he stated, ‘Give me your cellphone,’” Aponte recalled.

Aponte stated he handed his cellphone over considering, “I’ve nothing to cover.”

“I don’t do medication … what do you I’ve to lose?” Aponte stated of the incident. “And at that time, marijuana has been decriminalized and the next 12 months it’s placed on the invoice to legalize it.”

Hashish was made legal in New York in March 2021 and the primary licensed pot store opened up in the state on Dec. 29, 2022.

Nicholas Aponte and wife Maria Aponte
Aponte says it’s been a lifelong dream of his to be a cop and now getting a job is not possible.
Courtesy of John Scola

Aponte stated he stopped utilizing marijuana when he handed his public service exams in 2016 and 2017, and he hasn’t smoked since.

“I didn’t smoke,” on the time of the state trooper interview, he stated. “I nonetheless don’t smoke.”

The investigator assured Aponte his park ranger job wouldn’t be jeopardized.

However a month later, on Dec. 17, 2019, Aponte was compelled to resign as a park ranger after he was informed he needed to both step down or he could be fired — after the state contacted the city of Islip informing them of the textual content message, the go well with alleges.

Then on Feb. 14, 2022, whereas Aponte was being vetted for a job with the NYPD, the division known as the Islip park rangers. The company informed the NYPD investigator that Aponte was fired due to drug use and wouldn’t advocate him to the job, the courtroom papers say.

Nicholas Aponte
Aponte says he simply needs his “named cleared” so he can get a greater job.
Courtesy of John Scola

Aponte was once more denied the job due to the allegedly defamatory assertion and since the NYPD “did not inquire concerning the precise occasions surrounding [Aponte’s] resignation,” the go well with alleges.

Aponte has introduced claims towards the town, state and city of Islip for discrimination based mostly on his affiliation together with his mother-in-law, a disabled particular person. He claims he’s a sufferer of caretaker discrimination.

“Plaintiff was certified for his employment with the defendant state and was denied employment after the defendant state [determined] that as caretaker for his mother-in-law [who] makes use of medical marijuana to deal with her incapacity, he was someway unfit for responsibility,” the go well with claims.

Aponte stated he nonetheless needs to work in legislation enforcement and would gladly take his park ranger job again.

Nicholas and Maria Aponte.
Aponte and his spouse Maria are the caretakers for her mom, who has a medical marijuana license.
Courtesy of John Scola

“I nonetheless need to higher myself. I need to step up in life. I need to have the ability to return to some sort of normalcy and really feel like I can apply for a job and never be afraid of what’s going to return subsequent,” he stated.

“I really feel prefer it’s haunting me eternally.”

Aponte — who at the moment works for a cesspool firm — stated he’s attempting to get a job with the Lengthy Island Rail Street, however he’s frightened he’ll run into the identical downside once more.

“I need my identify cleared,” he stated.

Aponte’s lawyer John Scola informed The Publish: “The state, metropolis and the city of Islip every utilized archaic sensibilities in refusing my consumer employment based mostly on his mother-in-law’s use of medical marijuana to deal with her incapacity.

“This sort of incapacity affiliation and caretaker discrimination is towards the legislation, and we hope that by way of this lawsuit, Mr. Aponte will be capable to accomplish his dream of serving the general public.”

The town Legislation Division, the NYPD, the state Lawyer Common’s Workplace and the city of Islip didn’t instantly return requests for remark.

Further reporting by Craig McCarthy