The state attorney general’s office says Coloradans do not have a right to use marijuana off-the-job, siding with a satellite television company in its firing of a medical-marijuana patient.
In a brief filed with the state Supreme Court last month, the Colorado attorney general’s office argues that giving workers a right to use marijuana off-duty “would have a profound and detrimental impact on employers in the state.”
“Contrary to popular perception, Colorado has not simply legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes,” state attorneys write in the brief. “Instead, its citizens have adopted narrowly drawn constitutional amendments that decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.”
The Colorado Court of Appeals — the state’s second-highest court — last year upheld Dish Network’s firing of a quadriplegic medical-marijuana patient for a positive drug test. Though there is no allegation that Brandon Coats was stoned at work, the company said it has a zero-tolerance policy on marijuana.
In its brief supporting Dish Network, the state attorney general’s office says zero-tolerance policies ensure that employees are able to perform their jobs competently. Requiring employers to prove that workers are stoned on the job before they can be fired would require companies to conduct “intrusive investigations into the personal life of an employee.”
“Simply put, zero tolerance policies provide businesses with an efficient means of avoiding difficult employment decisions and even litigation,” the attorney general’s brief states.