Employment Law & Cannabis

So you live in a legal cannabis state – that means you can toke up before work or during your lunch break right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, the federal government does not recognize cannabis as a legal substance and still considers marijuana a controlled substance similar to cocaine or methamphetamine. Cannabis is considered a Schedule one drug meaning the federal government still considers the plant to be highly addictive and having no medical value.

Since federal law trumps state laws most employers are following federal regulations when it comes to cannabis usage in the workplace. As a result if you come to work high or if you fail a drug test you could still be terminated with cause. In 2015 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Dish Network vs. Coates terminating a disabled employee who uses medical marijuana and thus failed a drug screening. The court ruled that a state law barring employers from firing workers for off-duty behavior did not apply because cannabis is still illegal under federal law.

Moving forward employees should be aware of their company’s policies on pot and abide by their guidelines in order to avoid termination of employment. Regardless, coming to work under the influence of any substance should be avoided at all times, leaving consumption to off hours whether it be for medical or recreational use.