DENVER — Pot may be legal in Colorado, but you can still be fired for using it.
Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who was fired by the Dish Network after failing a drug test more than four years ago, says he still can’t find steady work because employers are wary of his off-duty smoking.
In a case being closely watched around the country, Colorado’s Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in Coats’ case, which could have big implications for pot smokers in the first state to legalize recreational sales of the drug. Legal experts say the outcome could change how every business in Colorado handles employees who use marijuana, CBS Denver reports.
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The case highlights the clash between state laws that are increasingly accepting of marijuana use and employers’ drug-free policies that won’t tolerate it.
“Attitudes are changing toward marijuana. Laws are going to have to change, too,” Coats told The Associated Press. “I’d like for this to enable people like me to find employment without being looked down upon.”
Coats, 35, was paralyzed in a car crash as a teenager and has been a medical marijuana patient since 2009, when, after a doctor’s urging, he discovered that pot helped calm violent muscle spasms that were making it difficult to work.
“I’m going to be like this for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to go through the rest of my life being unemployed,” Coats told CBS Denver last year.
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