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Bill would prevent Colorado employers from firing for off-duty marijuana use

smoking joint cannabis

DENVER (KRDO) -- A new bill filed in the Colorado legislature would prevent employers from firing employees for using cannabis when off duty.

State law already prohibits employers from terminating employees for "lawful off-duty activities, including the off-duty consumption of alcohol," but that hasn't extended to cannabis.

House Bill 20-1089, filed by Jovan Melton of Denver, would clarify that the regulation applies to off-duty activities that are lawful under state, even if they're not legal federally.

That means employees could talk about bud like they talk about Bud Light without worrying about losing their jobs over it.

The issue of firing for cannabis use has been longstanding since recreational marijuana began being sold in 2014. It came to a head in 2015, when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Dish Network was able to terminate an employee who tested positive for marijuana because pot remains illegal under federal law.

It's unlikely that this would apply to staffers in federal jobs in the state, and employees can still be terminated for using marijuana on duty. There are still many questions that would need to be addressed regarding liability for employers and the rights of employers who are based in states without legal access to marijuana.

The bill has been introduced and assigned to the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee.

Article Topic Follows: Cannabis

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Andrew McMillan


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