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Culture » Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals 7/8-7/15

Fire Up May Mean Firing

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Now that recreational weed is legal in Oregon, one major concern is whether employees can be fired from their jobs for cannabis use. Just last month the Colorado Supreme Court cleared things up with its opinion in the Coats vs. Dish Network case. Coats sued Dish Network for firing him on the basis of his medical use of cannabis in his home. Despite the fact that Coats was found to never have used on the job, nor to have been under the influence on the job, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dish Network, saying in its opinion:

"The supreme court holds that under the plain language of...Colorado's "lawful activities statute," the term "lawful" refers only to those activities that are lawful under both state and federal law. Therefore, employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute."

At the Bend Town Hall meeting on Measure 91, local Bend attorney Kurt Barker said, "The legal landscape for the workplace, it's pretty well defined here, and Measure 91 does not change that." He explained that under federal law employers were free to set their own tolerance policies concerning cannabis use.

While cannabis users have much to celebrate with the new recreational law going into effect, they should also be aware that their employers retain the right to uphold the federal law.

Weed thought you'd like to know.

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