Reality Check On Marijuana

COLORADO:  Proponents and opponents of the nationwide move to legalize marijuana, recreationally and/or medically, are keeping close eyes on the case of Coats v. Dish Network, slated to be argued before the Colorado Supreme Court tomorrow, Sept. 30.

The case revolves around disabled customer-service representative Brandon Coats, 35, who —  after testing positive for marijuana — told his boss on a Friday that he smoked it primarily at night to relieve spasms he suffered as a result of a car accident that paralyzed him when he was 16. When he showed up for work the following Monday, he said in a recent New York Times article, “my card wouldn’t open up the door.” In short, he had been fired for violating Dish’s drug-free-workplace policy.

If Coats prevails in his argument that his positive drug test should be allowed under Colorado’s 2000 law legalizing it for medicinal purposes (Colorado legalized its recreational use last year as well), employers throughout that state — and even the country — will have a harder time enforcing drug-free work policies, some legal experts say, including those representing Dish Network.

Colorado Supreme Court To Review “Lawful” Use Of Medical Marijuana

COLORADO:  The Colorado Supreme Court agreed on January 27, 2014 to review a case holding that an employer did not violate the state’s “legal activities” law when it dismissed an employee who used medical marijuana” while off duty.

Coats v. Dish Network, No. 13SC394 (CO. Jan. 27, 2014).  For a detailed discussion of the facts of the case and the appellate court’s decision, see the article on our website, Colorado Court Rules Use of ‘Medical Marijuana’ Not ‘Lawful’ under State’s ‘Legal Activities’ Law. 

The Colorado Supreme Court will review two issues in the case:  (1) whether the state’s Lawful Activities law protects employees from discretionary discharge for lawful use of medical marijuana outside the job where the use does not affect job performance; and, (2) whether the state’s Medical Marijuana law makes the use of medical marijuana “lawful” and confers a right to use medical marijuana to persons lawfully registered within the state.