On Monday, 6/15/20015, Colorado Supreme Court upheld earlier lower court ruling that employers can terminate employees for use of medical marijuana. The case Brandon Coats vs Dish Networks in which Brandon Coats challenged employer’s zero tolerance drug policy. Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who holds a medical marijuana card to treat his muscle spasms was fired in 2010. This case has large implications for employers and medical marijuana users in states that have legalized medical as well as recreational marijuana use.
They reaffirmed that this ruling could be precedent setting for future cases in Colorado as well as other states.
“As such, the question at hand is whether the use of medical marijuana — which is in compliance with Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Amendment — is “lawful” under the state’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute.”
“Therefore, 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 statute,” Justice Allison H. Eid wrote in the opinion.”
Michael Evans, attorney for Brandon Coats, called the decision ruling as, “devastating”. And stating only good outcome from case is that, now it provides some clarity in a “scary, gray area of state law.”