Colorado Court to Decide Whether Smoking Pot is a Fireable Offense

Brandon CoatsTime – by Dan Kedmey

A quadriplegic man who uses medical marijuana says he was unfairly dismissed from his job for partaking in a legal activity outside of work hours

Colorado’s Supreme Court is set to rule whether an employer can fire a worker for using medical marijuana, which is now legal in the state.

The court was due to hear arguments Tuesday in a case that will test the boundaries of state laws to legalize the substance. Both medical and recreational marijuana have been made legal in Colorado.  

Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic user of medical marijuana, sued his former employer, Dish Network, for firing him in 2010 after a drug test came back positive for marijuana, Colorado Public Radio reports.

Coats maintains that he needs the drug to alleviate debilitating muscle spasms, and that he has struggled to find a steady job ever since being fired. His attorney cites a state law prohibiting employers from firing employees for legal activities outside of work, while Dish Network argues that marijuana remains a federally prohibited substance.

Neither the state’s medical marijuana law nor the statute permitting recreational marijuana use require employers to tolerate marijuana use, and lower courts have sided with the employer in the Coats case.

“There’s a lot of people out there like me who would like to have a job but cannot,” Coats said, according to Colorado Public Radio, “because their impairment requires them to use marijuana, and because marijuana’s looked down on for employment, they’re not able to get jobs,”


One thought on “Colorado Court to Decide Whether Smoking Pot is a Fireable Offense

  1. As a 57 year old pot smoker, i can attest to the persecution. i lost my job due to injury, my advanced age for the physical job, and the fact that they knew i smoked pot, but they couldn’t catch me. My “labor union” instituted the drug testing program for our benefit. i still can’t follow that logic. Random drug testing began. The randomness of the program was bullshit. In the first 2 years of the crime, i was randomly tested 3 times. With well over 700 union employees to test, myself and 2 others, with the same employer, were subjected to excessive scrutiny. When i finally hurt myself unloading a truckload of blast resistant windows for an Air Force job, my employer balked, denied my claim, and then fired me for not doing my job.
    You think i wasted 23 years working there?
    Now, i can’t get a job cause i refuse to take a whiz quiz. Washington State made it legal. i am no longer a medicine criminal, only as far as the cops are concerned. Employers, on the other hand, can use drug testing as a way of not bothering to interview a person based on character, and just leave it up to a laboratory.

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