Puff, Puff, Pink Slip: Legal Weed Use Still Carries Job Risk

WASHINGTON: You’re not being paranoid: Even in Washington and Colorado, smoking a legal joint after work could still get an employee fired.

The whirlwind firing-turned-rehiring of a tie-dye-bedecked marijuana buyer in Spokane last week – followed by an admission Friday by Seattle’s City Attorney that he took pot to work – only clouded chronic confusion among many workers in the two pot-friendly states who ask if their legal-weed rights trump an employer’s cannabis policies.

The answer, for now, remains utterly non-hazy: No.

Workers still can be booted –- or never hired in the first place –- for puffing cannabis if anti-pot rules exist in their employers’ HR handbooks. So, if adults in Colorado and Washington legally consume weed after work, away from the job site or the office, they must remain mindful of the drug rules at the shops and offices where they ply their trades, according to labor-law experts in both states.

“Employers do hold all the cards. You’re not guaranteed a job. If not using marijuana is in the contract, or in the terms of the job, you can get fired,” said David Rheins, CEO of the Seattle-based Marijuana Business Association, considered the cannabis industry’s chamber of commerce.

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