By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you smoke marijuana in a state where it’s legal, can you be fired for it?
Last month, two more states plus the District of Columbia voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and there are another 23 states where medical marijuana is legal. But, can you be fired for smoking pot if you’re not breaking the law by using it?
Most state marijuana legalization laws are silent on the question of whether you can be fired if you fail a drug test. So the courts may wind up deciding the issue where the legislatures have left off, and so far have sided against the pot smokers.
When a quadriplegic medical marijuana user in Colorado was fired from his job for testing positive for the drug even though there was no evidence he was impaired on the job, he sued his employer for wrongful termination.
The Colorado Appeals Court ruled that while Colorado law protects the man from prosecution, it doesn’t prevent his private employer from firing him even though his pot smoking was legal.
That case will now be decided by the Colorado Supreme Court and there are cases in other states working their way through the court system, so the law is still “hazy” – but for now, if you smoke pot, your freedom may not be in jeopardy but your job may be.