In a unanimous decision, the Colorado state Supreme Court ruled 6-0 Monday that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back.
The Colorado worker, Brandon Coats, is a quadriplegic who was fired by Dish Network after failing a 2010 drug test. The company agreed that Coats wasn’t high on the job but said it has a zero-tolerance drug policy.
Coats argued that his pot smoking was allowed under a state law intended to protect employees from being fired for legal activities off the clock. Coats didn’t use marijuana at work, but pot’s intoxicating chemical, THC, can stay in the system for weeks.
The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, Coats’ use of the drug couldn’t be considered legal off-duty activity.
This case was being watched closely by employers and pot smokers in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.