April is Stress Awareness Month. Let SHRM make your work life easier: Join Now
Shawn Premer shows how doing the right thing for employees leads to positive business results.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
The amendment allows persons over 21 of age to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use, and authorizes the licensing of retail facilities for the sale of marijuana to adults (regardless of whether they reside in Colorado). The personal-use-and-cultivation provisions became effective in December 2013. Public consumption and unlicensed sales remain illegal.
How does this affect Colorado employers? Amendment 64 provides, “Nothing in this section is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.” Accordingly, employers may continue to enforce their drug testing policies against employees and applicants who test positive for marijuana, to publish and enforce policies prohibiting the possession or consumption of marijuana during working hours, and to discipline any employee whose job performance is impaired because of the use of marijuana.
In December 2013, the Colorado Court of Appeals reinforced employers’ right to lawfully discharge employees who test positive for marijuana, even where the employee has a medical marijuana card and there is no evidence of “impairment” on the job. Coats v. DISH Network, L.L.C., Nos. 12CA0595 & 12CA1704. Brendan Coats, a quadriplegic, sued his employer after he was fired in 2010 for failing a drug test. Since 2009, Coats used marijuana to treat ailments of his condition pursuant to Colorado’s Amendment 20, which legalized the medical use of marijuana.The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal, explaining, “For an activity to be lawful in Colorado, it must be permitted by, and not contrary to, both state and federal law.”
While medical (and recreational) marijuana use may be permitted under state law, it is still a Schedule I substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C § 801, et seq.) and, thus, unlawful under federal law. In other words, regardless of state law, employers may follow federal law in prohibiting employee drug use.
Jackson Lewis represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Republished with permission. © 2014 Jackson Lewis P.C. All rights reserved.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Become a SHRM Member
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies