Recreational marijuana smoking a firing offense? Colorado Bar Association says "yes"
The folks at the Colorado Bar Association have weed on their mind. For the December edition of its "Legal Lines" column, the CBA considered whether marijuana attorneys are violating professional ethics by representing clients who break federal law (even if what they're doing is perfectly fine in Colorado).
Now, "Legal Lines" is tackling the question, "Can I lose my job over recreational marijuana use?" The answer: an emphatic yes -- although that could change.
The column notes that many companies have zero-tolerance policies in regard to drugs, including marijuana. As a result, selling, distributing or consuming pot on a job site will be seen by such firms as a firing offense.
"But what about just having it in your system when at work?" the column asks. "What if you used it the night before, or the month before, and it's still in your system when you are drug-tested?"
To answer this question, "Legal Lines" cites the case of Brandon Coats, a paralyzed medical marijuana patient who is suing DISH, where he worked as a customer service representative, after he was fired in 2010 for failing a drug test.
The suit was filed in 2012, and since then, a number of courts have ruled against Coats. But in January, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Coats' complaint stresses his status as a patient who needs marijuana for pain relief, not a recreational user lighting up for fun. Yet the "Legal Lines" column implies that a ruling in the case could affect recreational users, too.
Problem is, the column argues that the most recent court decision against Coats "is consistent with precedent and finds its roots in the undisputed principle that marijuana was and remains a federal controlled substance, even in states like Colorado that have now passed not only medical but recreational marijuana laws."
As such, the CBA emphasizes that "you clearly can lose your job because of marijuana use" -- but "this could eventually change, as a decision from the Colorado Supreme Court is expected later this year."
Consider that professional legal advice, provided at no charge.
Continue to read the complete Colorado Bar Association column about recreational marijuana laws.