As recreational cannabis sales begin Jan. 1 in Colorado, one fact is sometimes overlooked: Employers still can fire workers for using it on- or off-duty.
State law gives employers full authority to impose any drug prohibitions they wish, despite it being legal in Colorado for adults to possess and consume marijuana.
“Employers hold all the cards,” said Curtis Graves, a staff attorney for the Mountain States Employers Council.
So you smoke only off-duty? Not good enough. Consuming just at home provides no protection if your workplace drug test comes back positive for marijuana.
Many employees may be enjoying a false sense of security stemming from passage last year of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana possession for adults in Colorado.
“Right now there is a great deal of confusion,” said attorney Danielle Urban of labor-law firm Fisher & Phillips in Denver. “People are surprised to learn that they can lose their jobs.”
Amid the euphoria of approving legal pot, some cannabis enthusiasts may have overlooked a key piece of fine print in Amendment 64.