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Colorado Appeals Court Rules Employers Can Fire Marijuana Users

Colorado employers can legally fire marijuana users from their jobs, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in a 2-1 decision. Although the case was brought by a medical marijuana user, the ruling will have any even broader impact given that the state has now legalized marijuana for all adults.

The case was Coats v. Dish Network LLC, in which Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic telephone operator for Dish Network and registered medical marijuana patient, was fired by Dish Network after testing positive for marijuana during a drug test. Paralyzed by a car crash as a teen, Coats had been a registered patient since 2009. Dish Network cited no other reason for firing Coats other than his positive drug test result.

Coats challenged his firing, citing Colorado's Lawful Activities statute, which prohibits employers from firing workers for "engaging in any legal activity off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours." But both the trial court and now the appeals court rejected his challenge, holding that because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the Lawful Activities statute does not apply.

"For an activity to be lawful in Colorado, it must be permitted by, and not contrary to, both state and federal law," the appeals court said.

Judge John Webb dissented, saying he could not find a case addressing whether Colorado judges must consider federal law in determining the meaning of the Colorado statute.

Coats' attorney, Michael Evans, said in a statement that the ruling will have a broad impact in the state.

"This case not only impacts Mr. Coats, but also some 127,816 medical marijuana patient-employees in Colorado who could be summarily terminated even if they are in legal compliance with Colorado state law," Evans said.

And with adult marijuana legalization now in place in the state, it is not just medical marijuana users who stand to be affected.

The ruling is expected to be appealed.

Similar rulings allowing employers to fire medical marijuana users have been upheld by courts in other states, including California, Michigan, and Montana.

Denver, CO
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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smokingspirit's picture

Now in Canada seeking refugee status

Now in Canada seeking refugee status

The importance of legalizing weed

we need to look at the real reason they want to keep it criminal – with it being criminalize they get to make huge profits off the black market- not only do we give up our natural, ancestral, genetic, historical and religious rights as to being mortal; with it criminalized it creates endless crime and violence. the only way to keep someone from doing DANGEROUS DRUGS is education otherwise we all will be giving up our freedom to choose, everyone will be subject to a drug test not only for work but even to listen to music- the band cant get insurance to play on stage because they fail the medical monopoly drug test -this is happening in the USA-not only to little workers but they want to drug test political candidates - like the movie Hunger Games a select group of people will be able to wage economic warfare not by law but by economic war - against a small group of people THEY will get to profit endlessly while disrupting the criminal element- the music band sings the song that he has no money because he spends it all on weed- Really?, a natural plant that can grow in abundance? A plant that was grown through out history and this person for some reason has to spend all his money on a weed? This points out that right now their are forces at work targeting this group of so called undesirables – nickle and dimming him to death or in to crime. To allow this group to deny man GOD and his natural goodness -because of false science, lies and propaganda is opening the door to the medical monopoly profiting off our old and sick where they the big pharm decide who is moral enough to be healthy .They are not interested in a cure but a profit. It is critical that we stop the medical monopoly. Its not too late to change our fate and stop these snakes before they turn this world into another anti drinking anti smoking state or let them create crime and violence let them give a secret group money to spy on every citizen to make sure hes not growing it and if he is put them in there prison where he will be forced to pay $250.00 for a pack of cigarettes where they will fill them with fear and violence then release him back into the community so THIS group can call for more police more prisons- this choice is monumental for all generations If GOD made it who are you to condemn it? Let those that will BE,BE let those that wont BE, BE read what happened to me just because they didnt like my writings two years on the streets in California

Experience homelessness

My experience with being homeless has been an eye opener- I never

thought it would happen to me, but if it could happen to me it could

happen to you, it could happen to anyone- eventually – let me tell you

what to expect , first off the sanitary condition of living on the

streets is horrendous for some reason Americans must have a fear of

urinals, toilets and sinks that they keep them locked up in waste

closets or require the poor to buy something to use them or urinate in

the nearest door way and possibly get arrested for indecent exposure

or some other sex crime. Get ready to give up all privacy and dignity,

although our forefathers built elaborate bath houses and free opera

seats for the poor not in today's society homelessness is a multi

billion dollar business. And although there are some good people

working within the system to help the homeless the system is badly

broke and overwhelmed – get ready to stand in long lines all day long

for day old food or for a shelter to spend the night In of course with

fifty other men on a mat in one large room and with curfew is the

best you could expect . For the homeless to accomplish one simple task

in a day is a big accomplishment. what would normally take someone an

hour at the most now can take all day. This system is so badly broke

that I have to wonder if the hidden agenda is to feed the prison

empire force the people into prison Labor if they refuse to work for

minimum wage or slave Labor moving the homeless on from one spot to

another and other physiological warfare that most homeless end up

cracking and or becoming a medical experiment denying the homeless any

type of security not allowing them to put up tents or use any Porta

potties and with no place to store your stuff its either stolen while

asleep or taken from the street cleaners so the homeless go out and

steel anything that rolls our forefathers at least could have a mule

or a horse to move their stuff; it seem the whole system is to make

criminals out of the people where they can spend $ 30,000 a year to

keep them locked away TOO many times I have seen people running out of

stores into moving traffic to try to steal some food. Too many times I

have seen desperate people take desperate action when only a few

dollars would've kept the poor happy. let me tell you what my typical

day is I get to sleep in the subway about 1:AM where noises -beeping -

street cleaners and drunks are all ways present, I am awaken at 4:AM

and moved on where I try to find a dry semi warm place to crash then

again I am awaken at 6:AM forced to keep moving, no sitting or laying

as my resumes and job search go out to a black hole looking for work

becomes less and less important- I spend my day SPANGING (begging for

SPAre chanNGE ) when I get enough money I can travel for hours,

walking LUGGING MY STUFF around to get to a place where I can take a

shower for 15 minuets that runs from hot to cold water of course going

through a security that tears your bag apart while all the people

stand around looking at everything you have ( tighter than airport

security) either that or join some right wing religious organization

who is going to save my soul, the American idea of self reliance and

independence are put to shamble as you are forced to become more and

more reliant on a system that doest work and forced to associate and

stand in long lines with those who lack any education except how to

fight or what the latest big Drama going on between bums yes some of

these people are crazy, lazy, criminals or ex criminals , some are

heavy drug users some are really good people but if the medical

monopoly cant cure them why should the state criminalize them its so

sad to see good people who are 60-90% fine most of the time but then

have a terrible addiction and instead of the state caring they

criminalize us and work to make criminals out of us for even asking

for change which only causes more and more crime and violence but I

see more are just decent people who've played by the rules all their

life only to have the system steal it all, the middle class is under

attack and the poor have been under attack a long time in my opinion

there are a few things they could do before they come after you

1. Let the people put up tents in vacant lots- some of these people

will never could never fit any other way

2. Put a tax on vacant property that doubles every year that way they

would lower their prices or pay the tax

3. Supply these addicts with compassionate care if the gangs can keep

drug illegal they can profit – take the profit out and you will end

the huge addiction problem or keep watching more and more people fall

victim as they take away his will( the only thing that can stop the

drug problem is education and freedom of choice)

4. If schools cant teach peace and tolerance then close them, the key

to a Strong democracy is liberty and tolerance (Ben Franklin)

5. Get these high risk people who might want to commit a crime and PAY

FOR PROGRESS pay them for being good citizens its a hell of a lot

cheaper than incarcerating them and read more in the books ABOUT


by [email protected] read more @ www.smokingspirit123 Should Canada legalize marijuana?

It Should Work Both Ways

If state law is totally irrelevant in federal court, why isn't federal law totally irrelevant in state court?  I'd say an appeal is in order.

Once again, the disabled

Once again, the disabled individual who wants desperately to feel independent and productive is discriminated against.

America, the Shameful.

This is the type of legalization we don't need

I had always feared that if Marijuana ever became legal, measures would be put in place to ensure that those who chose to partake would become 2nd-rate citizens... the fact that you can get fired for smoking legal weed seems to indicate that's the direction this is all going.


"Sure have legal weed,but accept that you may lose your job, benefits, health coverage, etc, if you choose to buy it."


What's next?  Recreational Marijuana cards?  All users must register, and I bet all types of restrictions put on people who are registered.

To be expected

As we know, there are several entities whining and crying because people have voted to legalize cannabis.

The drug testing industry is most certainly one of them. They want as many people drug tested for as many things as possible.

Expect battles like this; it's all part of the process.

PS: I want to inform/remind all of you that Yahoo blocks out the word "cannabis" in order to perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination associated with the nicknames of cannabis. Yahoo is run by a group of neo-liberal fascists who have their noses firmly imbedded in the president.

Say, Matt, I'm not sure I

Say, Matt, I'm not sure I understand the difference between "liberal" and "neo-liberal" but both are cursewords used to condemn somebody.  I'm happy to help you explore for alternatives, "Libertarian" is sort of Tory so how about Liberative, Liberatives (i.e. those of us who want to liberate somebody or something)?


If you want to know what a Neoliberal is in the economic sense, and see criticism of it's implementation, you can refer to the wiki article here:

It does not necessarily define social issues/civil liberties, although it points out that it can create an extremely repressive dictatorship (Chile, for example).

Here's the most relevant quote in regards to the War on Drugs, a pillar of American tyranny.

Santa Cruz History of Consciousness professor Angela Davis and Princeton sociologist Bruce Western have claimed that the high rate (compared to Europe) of incarceration in the U.S. – specifically 1 in 37 American adults is in the prison system – heavily promoted by the Clinton administration, is the neoliberal U.S. policy tool for keeping unemployment statistics low, while stimulating economic growth through the maintenance of a contemporary slave population and the promotion of prison construction and "militarized policing."[107].

As you can see by this wiki description, people like Hillary Clinton, the Kennedys, Joe Biden, and Diane Feinstein are classic examples of neoliberals. They only care for your civil rights if you are homosexual. They strive to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. They outsource jobs, promote "crony capitalism" (for example, the drug testing industry). They will continue to come up with law after draconian law to ensure the "crony capitalists" in several industries gain unlimited power. They will continue to perpetuate "stoner stereotypes", which continue to undermine the efforts of disabled medical cannabis users to become free and productive.

Why don't they test for Booze

Dish networks are Assh***s. 

Please Keep Drugs Illegal.

Please tell Congress to Help the Mexican Mafia and all the American Gangs.  Please don't Legalize Drugs our Criminal Organizations would go out of business and you would not want that.

So write congress to support HP 323456999 Mexican Mafia and Gang Bailout Act.

By the way most members of congress are drug users.



Outlaw Urine Testing.

Until we outlaw urine testing as an imperfect test that does not show impairment we will not be free of this burden. Lie detector tests are no longer allowed to be used in the workplace for employment purposes nor should urine tests. 

The majority of the Population does not understand that urine testing shows historical use, however they believe the results show impairment at the time the test was administered. We must expose this test for what it is to the majority of people or we will be doomed to be slaves of the plastic cup forever. 

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