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Recreational marijuana smoking a firing offense? Colorado Bar Association says "yes"

marijuana.in.bong.205x205.jpg
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?"

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Brandon Coats.
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.



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118 comments
jose257
jose257 topcommenter

The only reason that the Feds want to keep marijuana illegal is to use as a tool to destabilize other countries.  

It is already too late to stop legalization in the US.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

House GOP passes bill to force Obama to crack down on legal weed in states that allow it


The House passed the Enforce the Law Act by a vote of 233-181 on Wednesday. The bill was introduced by Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) to allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.


“The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to write the laws and the Executive to enforce them,” Gowdy said Wednesday in a statement. “We don’t pass suggestions. We don’t pass ideas. We pass laws. Regardless of our politics, I hope my colleagues have enough regard for our work to expect those laws would be faithfully executed.”

committee report submitted by Goodlatte cited the Obama administration’s decision to not intervene with marijuana legalization efforts in various states as an example of executive overreach.


Colorado and Washington both legalized the recreational use of marijuana through statewide voter referendums in 2012. In addition, 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Federal law, however, still considers the possession and sale of marijuana to be a crime.


Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that the Department of Justice would not challenge states’ marijuana legalization laws as long as they maintained an “appropriately strict regulatory system.”


The decision not to enforce federal drug laws “in entire states is not a valid exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” the Republican’s report stated.


“Rather, the guidance to U.S. Attorneys establishes a formal, department-wide policy of selective non-enforcement of an Act of Congress. This infringes on Congress’s lawmaking authority by, in effect, amending the flat prohibitions of the [Controlled Substances Act] to permit the possession, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana so long as that conduct is in compliance with state law. This crosses the line between permissible discretionary decisions made by prosecutors on a case-by-case basis and an impermissible suspension of the law by executive fiat,” the report added.

jose257
jose257 topcommenter

If a brain dead employer doesn't allow recreational marijuana, find another job.  Don't waste your life away working for an idiot.



LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

What is funny is that those asking are doing it anyway. Too bad companies don't get this and yet their hirees are fully functional. p0.,s haven't seen opened half eaten pkgs of cookies..

Kandis Bigham
Kandis Bigham

Rian Milehigh clearly your read some of it to bother replying. also it is perfectly legal it was voted on and approved by the public therefore it is legal... do you not understand that once it is voted on and accepted that it becomes law? and therefore yes is legal? not only here in the state of Colorado but in Washington and many more to come. if you don't think it will not be federally decriminalized with in the next 10 years your living in a state of denial. have fun with that and have fun looking ridiculous to all the ppl in your personal life that you have tried this same train of thought on. you will be the one who looks ridiculous in the long run. p.s. i also find it amusing that you set your Facebook settings to not allow ppl to use your at name in replies so you don't have to see whats said to you. which also shows your perfectly happy living in denial well that will change weather you like it or not when it does in fact get decriminalized on a federal level and you and ppl like you will not be able to deny its legality. things are changing weather you like it or not and weather you agree with it or not it will happen.

Kandis Bigham
Kandis Bigham

Denver Westword well what they can do isn't always the right thing to do or the morally just thing to do. the more we accept this as a society the more we allow progress to be stymied.

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

the premise of amendment 64 was to treat thc as alcohol. can you be fired for drinking off the clock? absolutely, depending on the situation and job in question. I would say that the situation and job needs to be considered for thc. I don't believe in this absurd idea of zero tolerance because people are not machines and it's time we stop trying to live in a black and white world.

Michael Beckerman
Michael Beckerman

Your company can fire you for ANY reason they like, as long as it doesn't directly pertain to one of the recognized protected classes. It makes no difference at all in an "at will" employment state like Colorado if you did something they didn't like while on the clock or at home. That's completely irrelevant. As long as it's not directly related to one of the protected classes, as defined by the government (federal, state or local), then your employer is entirely free to discriminate against you for absolutely any reason they like - and there's not a damn thing that you or any lawyer you wish to hire can do about it. Sorry, but that's the law. Don't like it? Then it looks like you've got some lobbying to do down at the Capital.

Jennifer Bayless
Jennifer Bayless

Unfortunately this is happening everywhere. Employers insisting their employees not smoke tobacco. Some companies will fire you on the spot if your blood test come back positive. Terrible

Greg Power
Greg Power

I operate heavy machinery at work and if I'm still hung over and I cause an accident, I get fired. The burden of proof that you are not still under the influence of a controlled substance, legal or not, falls on you. Companies have an obligation to provide a safe working inviroment for their employees. Now if these same companies are firing people solely for the use of marijuana, that's a different story.

Douglas Hassell
Douglas Hassell

In a word, yes. There's a broad, gray area that sits in between "legalized" and "legally supported activity". Consuming pot (smoke, vapor or foodstuffs) has only changed in one regard; it's no longer illegal. Are there still laws that can punish you for smoking pot? Yes there are, because it's still not allowed in public, just like drinking alcohol. So far, the legislation appears to be equating marijuana consumption with alcohol consumption; in effect, making the punishments about the same whether being 'high' or being drunk. Several physiological factors also come into play for the CBA ruling, most notably that THC can have a lasting influence on people, sometimes many hours after being imbibed. (for the sake of argument, I use that word for pot in the same way it's used for alcohol) Recreational experiences with pot can have lasting effects that would conceivably impact job performance, even the next day. (much like a hangover, and possibly worse than a hangover because of the psychotropic qualities) The ruling is sound, and it's clear that the dissenters don't appreciate the protections for the greater public. They only see an obstacle to their "good times". Employers are fully within their rights to dismiss individuals that fail to keep their recreational and professional lives separate.

Joel Therealintalect Brown
Joel Therealintalect Brown

From what i've read in CO labor laws, firing an employee over anything done while not on the job falls under discrimination of off duty conduct.

Stan Salazar
Stan Salazar

Yes because employees operate under federal guidelines & other than that Colorado is a fire at will state. Even if the employer allows you to smoke, they can fire you for smoking the wrong kind or for being under the influence just like going to work drunk.

Jev Ayala
Jev Ayala

And that's a different story. I bet more than half of these places that will fire someone for using marijuana off-the-job let people drink and get drunk on the weekend. What's the difference there? There is none. If I smoke a joint on Sunday then come to work on Monday, I'm not going to be under the influence to the point where it inhibits me from doing my job. This is a form of discrimination.

Josh Stoller
Josh Stoller

Some places will fire you for getting your hair dyed.

Josh Stoller
Josh Stoller

If said company is based out of state it makes sense. It's technically illegal federally and company policy is company policy.

Daniel Wendler
Daniel Wendler

Thosde laws will change also just a matter of time..........DW

Jev Ayala
Jev Ayala

Absolutely not. I've never heard of anyone getting fired for having a drink while off the job if they are of legal age. Why is it different for Marijuana?

Joshua Pərəz
Joshua Pərəz

I just had a job interview here in Denver and he stressed to me about not tolerating weed. If I was hot for the preemployment or fot for a random that I would be fired. So much for free the weed.

Denver Westword
Denver Westword

It's not a matter of what they should do -- it's a matter of what they can do, Kandis Bigham

Violeta Luz
Violeta Luz

You can smoke crack and do heroin all weekend stop for four days and your clean. You can take psychotropic drugs prescribed by a physician that ARE on the controlled substance list (benzodiazepines) several times a day and not be fired. To the first three comments we live in Colorado be tolerant or get out! Supreme court anyone?

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

That's not the question though. The question is should you get fired for something you do in your off time that is not impairing you during your time at work. If you're perfectly sober at work yet you smoked a joint the night before or over the weekend and get tested and test positive you believe that should be enough to fire you, is that what you're saying yes!!! to?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If stoners want to get high on the job, or bring their THC saturated brains to work, then they can find a minimum wage Budtender or mindless Trimming job at some Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartel.


... or work for Wasteword.


Cory Whitmer
Cory Whitmer

At will says it all. Marijuana testing needs to be reworked to be able to tell the difference between being high at the moment and being high last night.

jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay It's not going to happen because the Feds will lose in court and have less control over marijuana than they have now.  The states have already made it clear that they will defend their state laws. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@jose257  ... right, because everyone wants Airline pilots and Brain surgeons to be stoned.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... the off-duty conduct must be LAWFUL.


Pot is still a FEDERAL CRIME ... and still a STATE CRIME in 100s of instances.


hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... because pot is still illegal federally?


How many employers would knowing allow employees to do cocaine, meth and heroin on the weekends or after work?



jose257
jose257 topcommenter

Find a job where smoking pot the night before is fine.  Don't work for an A hole.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Clayton Capra  ... if you don't like the CONDITIONS and REGULATIONS of your Employer, then find ANOTHER JOB!



niteman2008
niteman2008

@DonkeyHotay  The body already make cannobliods and the receptors are killing Cancer but, Oh I forgot what was important in America thanks for pointing out how much you love the deaths from Alcohol because THC saturates you fat cells and you need to get off the booze. And Bud tenders don't make minimum wage either maybe you should apply.. But, first they should pass a law that keeps you from getting it because of you beer gut from all the Coors plant's free drinks at lunch time.


jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Or news anchors, artists, musicians, and other professions that don't require reality.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... Employers don't need to bother with such expense or trouble, as there are 100s of thousands of qualified employees who DON'T SMOKE POT at all!



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@jose257 ... it ALL ends as soon as the voters are stupid enough to put the Repuglykkkans back in control.



jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @jose257And they want them to be drunk too, otherwise alcohol would be illegal.

You are some piece of work!


jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay News flash, marijuana is not cocaine, meth, and heroin.  If you smoke pot the night before, you are fine in the morning - no physical addiction like cocaine, meth, and heroin.

jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Exactly!  Don't waste your life away working for an A hole.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@niteman2008 "The body already make cannobliods and the receptors are killing Cance"


Complete NONSENSE!



jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay And there are hundreds of employers who would rather you smoke pot at night time than drink alcohol and come in the next morning with a hangover.

formaldiggity
formaldiggity

Find something more productive to do with your time. Trolling is not a hobby for decent human beings. Nor is it healthy for anyone...its time to stop.

jose257
jose257 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @jose257As bad as the Democrats are, the Republicans will never be back in control as long as they promote prohibition.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@jose257 ... so go slave away for one of those companies, pendejo.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@formaldiggity  ... yet here you are, reading and replying to my posts.


How "healthy" is that?

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