Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. However, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Because of this, you may still face consequences for smoking marijuana - even in a state where it is legal.
Employers have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace. According to Colorado law, “Employers are not required to accommodate medical or recreational marijuana use in the workplace. Employers may fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even for off-duty use with a valid medical marijuana card.”
Because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, you can be fired for using the drug.
What about off-duty conduct laws?
Off-duty conduct laws were originally put in place to prevent people from being fired for lawful activity outside of work. For example, attending political protests for causes that their employer may not agree with.
However, because marijuana is illegal federally, it is not considered lawful activity, and it is not protected under these laws.
States have different laws regarding when and why an employer can drug test employees.
In Colorado, employers have the right to conduct random and scheduled drug tests. If an employee fails the test, the employer has the right to fire them for that reason.
However, fired employees may be able to sue depending on the circumstances of the drug screening.
- If the drug test was an invasion of privacy
- If the fired employee needed to use the drug for legally recognized medical purposes
- This does not include medical marijuana
- If the drug test was given based on discrimination (due to the employees race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.)
Denver Criminal Defense
Even in states where recreational and medical marijuana are legal, it is important to know these intricacies of the law. If you are facing drug charges, contact Law Office of Kevin Cahill today. We will look into all details of your case to ensure that your rights were not violated by law enforcement.