CO Court: Medical Pot Users Can Be Fired For Using Drug Off the Job


Coloradans who use medical marijuana off the clock can be fired from their jobs for doing so even if they aren’t impaired on the job, an appeals court ruled yesterday. The Denver Post said a divided Colorado Court of Appeals panel upheld the firing of a quadriplegic man for off-the-job medical-marijuana use, concluding that, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, employees have no protection to use it anytime. The 2-1 decision has broad implications not just for the state’s nearly 109,000 medical-marijuana patients but for any adult using marijuana in Colorado after voters legalized the substance in November. The case is the first to look at whether off-duty marijuana use that is legal under state law is protected by Colorado’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute. The statute says employers can’t fire employees for doing legal things off the clock. “What the Colorado Court of Appeals said is, by definition, the use of medical marijuana cannot be lawful,” said Vance Knapp, an attorney with Sherman and Howard who specializes in employment law. One judge disagreed, saying that the Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute should be read as only concerning state law.

Comments are closed.