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Workers Can Be Fired for Marijuana Use, Colorado Court Rules

News Posted Jun 16 2015

Colorado has become the face of recreational marijuana in the US, but after a state Supreme Court ruling it will also lead the decision in how businesses are allowed to drug test and terminate their employees. In 2010, the TV company, Dish Network fired an employee after testing positive for marijuana in a random drug test. The employee in question is a lawful owner of a medical marijuana card in the state of Colorado, and has broken no laws. He uses medical marijuana only at home, and never on work time or property, to treat his painful spasms after a car accident left him paralyzed. On Monday, the state Supreme Court ruled that although state law protects the use of medical marijuana, the federal ban of marijuana allows businesses to demonize the miracle drug, and lawfully terminate employees for using it. This court case will lead the decision on many smaller cases around the country, and its become clear that federal legalization may be the only answer to truly give citizens their freedom.

“The federal government has in many ways the last say,” said Sam Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver who studies legal issues swirling around marijuana’s growing place in society. “As long as that federal prohibition is in place, the states can only do so much.”

Mr. Coats, who said that marijuana had worked “like a miracle,” had a medical marijuana card from the state, and said he smoked only at home, away from work, and that his use did not affect his job performance answering calls from cable-service customers.

Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/16/us/companies-can-fire-workers-for-marijuana-use-colorado-court-rules.html

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