7/24/2014

Brad Williams quoted in LexisNexis' "Waiting to Exhale: Employee Firing for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use"

Brad Williams quoted in LexisNexis' "Waiting to Exhale: Employee Firing for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use"

In the article “Waiting to Exhale: Employee Firing for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use,” published July 24, 2014 by LexisNexis, Brad Williams provided commentary on an upcoming Colorado Supreme Court ruling related to whether an employer may terminate an employee for the off-duty use of medical marijuana.

“Any decision reversing Coats’ termination under Colorado’s Lawful Activities Statute would effectively invalidate zero-tolerance drug policies in Colorado; preclude employers from ensuring that employees remain safe and productive at work absent prohibitively expensive investigations into the precise timing and psychoactive effect of drug use; raise grave preemption concerns given the multiple federal statutes that mandate a drug-free working environment; and contravene an express provision in Colorado’s 2012 Recreational Marijuana Amendment that permits employers to retain policies that restrict employees’ marijuana use. The Colorado Supreme Court seems unlikely to sanction such results. Instead, the Court seems likely to agree that off-duty marijuana use is not ‘lawful’ under Colorado’s statute because it remains illegal under federal law. Alternatively, the Court might avoid some of this case’s stickier questions by holding that off-duty marijuana use is instead not ‘lawful’ under Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Amendment, which arguably only created an exemption from criminal prosecution. However, any such narrow ruling would almost certainly spawn additional litigation over the different wording in Colorado’s Recreational Marijuana Amendment, and whether that amendment made off-duty marijuana use ‘lawful.’ ”

To read the full article, click here.

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