Colorado Supreme Court says workers can be fired for smoking pot off-duty

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When Colorado enthusiastically voted to legalized marijuana in 2012, governor John Hickenlooper responded with humor and prescience. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through," Hickenlooper said. "That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly."

On Monday morning, federal law struck back, as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a medical marijuana patient fired in 2010 from his job at DISH Network could be fired for smoking off the job, meaning businesses are now permitted to fire employees in Colorado marijuana use. Via the Associated Press:

The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, Coats' use of the drug couldn't be considered legal off-duty activity.

"There is no exception for marijuana use for medicinal purposes, or for marijuana use conducted in accordance with state law," the court wrote.


The Denver Post reports that "legal observers" believe "the ruling could be precedent-setting as Colorado and other states wrangle with adapting laws to a nascent industry that is illegal under federal law." So watch out Washington, Alaska, and Oregon—pot might soon be a little less legal.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.