That fear is very real, even for medical marijuana patients who only use medical marijuana while off the clock in the privacy of their own homes. It’s a fear that I have had to live with throughout my adult life. A lot of people e-mail me asking if they can be fired for using legal marijuana, both medical and recreational. Each time I have to give them the sad news that yes, you can be fired for using legal marijuana, at least according to case law. There have been a handful of legal challenges to the firings, and every single time those challenges lose in court.
Today there was another case that was ruled in favor of the employer, this time in Colorado. Per The Denver Channel:
The Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday affirming a lower court’s decision to uphold the firing of an employee for using medical marijuana off-duty.
“Employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the (lawful activities statute),” the justices concluded.
The case involved 35-year-old Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who was fired from his job at the Dish Network after failing a drug test in 2010. Coats said he needed the drug to help with violent spasms and seizures he has suffered since he was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident.
So a quadriplegic employee who is a valid medical marijuana patient in a state that also has legalized recreational marijuana can be fired from his job, even though he was a great employee by all accounts. How is that fair? As many people have pointed out on social media, there is no one getting fired under similar circumstances when alcohol is the substance being used off the clock. As more and more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana, this is an issue that every marijuana consumer needs to be aware of. Just because medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal at the state level does not protect you from being fired at your job, no matter what the circumstances are. I’d like to see people boycott the Dish Network due to this obviously ridiculous, un-compassionate policy. Employees should be judged based off of their skills and work ethic, not based off of the content of their urine or saliva.