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Friday, April 26, 2013

POT Losses = Colorado Medical Pot vs. Dish Network

Colorado appeals court upholds firing for off-duty marijuana use

Reporter-Denver Business Journal
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Colorado employers are within their legal rights to fire marijuana users, even though it’s legal under state law, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in a case about a former Dish Network Corp.employee terminated for using medical marijuana off-duty.

In a ruling that bears more weight in light of Colorado voters approving Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana use and possession by adults 21 years and older, the majority of the appellate court judges ruled Dish Network was justified in firing Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic, for using medical marijuana during his off-duty time.

The dismissal was (and is) allowed by Colorado law, the court ruled.

“Because activities conducted in Colorado, including medical marijuana use, are subject to both state and federal law ... to be ‘lawful’ in Colorado, it must be permitted by and not contrary to both state and federal law,” the ruling states.

It was signed by Chief Judge Janice Davidson and Judge Monica Márquez. Judge John Webb offered a dissenting opinion.

DBJ Special Report: Marijuana in Colorado

Though Dish (Nasdaq: DISH) won the ruling that the firing was upheld, it lost in its efforts to make Coats pay its attorneys fees.

Coats filed his claim under Colorado’s Lawful Activities Statute, arguing Dish had no cause to fire him because he only used marijuana in his off-duty time, never was under the influence at work and never possessed any on Dish Network’s premises.

“While we agree that the general purpose of [Colorado Lawful Activities Statute] is to keep an employer’s proverbial nose out of an employee’s off-site, off-hours business, ... we can find no legislative intent to extend employment protection to those engaged in activities that violate federal law,” the ruling states.

Posted By: STS  First @ 5:54:20 PM


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