This is just a quick reminder to all of those out there who partake in recreational – or even medicinal – marijuana use. It doesn’t matter that it’s legal! Your employer can still fire you for smoking on your own time if it violates their drug policy.
Wait, say what?
Last year the Colorado Supreme Court held that under the plain language of section 24-34-402.5, 14 C.R.S. (2014), Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” (the statute that generally makes it an unfair and discriminatory labor practice to discharge an employee based on the employee’s “lawful” outside-of-work activities) the term “lawful” refers only to those activities that are lawful under both state and federal law. 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.
SO. What does that mean for you?
It does not matter if you have a medicinal marijuana card. It doesn’t matter that even recreational use is lawful in Colorado. It does not matter if you do it at home, on your own time. If the use of marijuana violates your company’s drug policy – they can fire you. And you’re SOL.
Whether or not you agree with it doesn’t matter. Until either 1) the Court’s decision is overturned in a later case or by the United States Supreme Court; 2) the Colorado legislature clarifies with new legislation; or 3) marijuana use becomes legal under federal code, this is the law.
So check out your employer’s policy on marijuana. If they prohibit its use … and you like your job … and they drug test … then don’t smoke. #themoreyouknow