Colorado Employers Torn on the Question of Marijuana Use


The legality of marijuana at the state level has put some employers at odds with their personal feelings toward partaking of the drug.

Take, for example, federal laws forbidding transportation workers such as pilots, commercial drivers and train engineers from using marijuana. Regional Transportation District spokesman Scott Reed points to an ever-shrinking pool of drug-free drivers as one of the problems facing employers. According to Reed, after the legalization of weed, the Colorado transit system had a 5 to 10 percent rise in applicants who tested positive for marijuana and as a result were not hired.

Another business owner, Dottie Peterson, runs a staffing service. She does not mind workers smoking on their own time, but because her company receives better workers’ compensation insurance for being a drug-free workplace, she still drug tests her employees. Her company could face lawsuits if a drug-using worker gets into an accident, whether working on the road or at a job site. Others claim that cannabis consumption causes more health problems and absences for workers.

This dispute between federal and state law harkens back to the case of Brandon Coats, who we discussed in a previous blog post. Coats was fired from his job at DISH Network after failing a random drug test, despite his excellent work ethic and lack of evidence of impairment. The courts found that though Colorado law bans employers from discriminating against employees who engage in legal off-duty conduct, Coats still violated DISH Network’s drug-free workplace policies as well as federal marijuana laws.

For the time being, if you are employed in a safety-conscious job such as public transportation, it is wise to refrain from the use of marijuana.

DUI Matters – Denver Drunk Driving Lawyers

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