Late last week, a State Rep. in Colorado proposed a rehashed bill. House Bill 1152 would potentially stop employers from denying or terminating employment for consuming cannabis outside of work hours. Additionally, it would require employers to allow medical patients to consume cannabis at the work, though certain exceptions will apply.
A 2015 court case in Colorado raised concerns about the current laws. An employee of Dish Network was terminated after a random drug test for cannabis came back positive. Though the employee held a medical marijuana card for one of the qualifying conditions, the court ruled against him. The contradictory decision made many look at their current laws with scrutiny. Both the sponsor and co-sponsor for the bill commented about it to the Colorado Sun.
“Marijuana is legal in Colorado, and what people do in their spare time that doesn’t impact their work shouldn’t really be a problem for them. They should be able to enjoy the legal things that we have here in Colorado and not be penalized for it.”-State Representative Brianna Titone
“The whole idea is to signal to the business community and to employers that because we have legalized cannabis we should be following the same laws and rules that apply to alcohol and prescription drugs,”-State Representative Edie Hooton
CONSUMING CANNABIS AT THE WORK?
Bill 1152 sounds like a more robust version of a cannabis bill Nevada recently passed. Only one other recreational state has a law prohibiting termination due to cannabis consumption off-site. Nevada prohibited positive cannabis drug tests preventing an employee from a job at most businesses. A second test can be administered at the start of the job as well which would prompt a probationary period of sorts. Colorado would be the first to go further than Nevada. The current labor market, however, has more companies throwing those outdated feelings out.
Colorado legalized the sale of cannabis in 2012. Like everyone else, the question of contradicting laws unfortunately isn’t addressed for some years. More lawmakers are calling out the hypocrisy on cannabis but the legislative route is the only answer. The bill was proposed late last week without much opposition. As we’ve seen in situations like this, the workplaces are the biggest concern. States leave cannabis consumption in the workplace on the workplace in said situation. Basically, it’s legal to consume but your place of employment is the authority on consuming off the clock.
If this bill goes through, it can prompt other states to look harder at the stipulations on cannabis legalization. Far too often, cannabis is rushed to legalize. Not long after, however, the market hits wall after wall of grey legal area and legislative blocks to doing business efficiently. In this case, the lack of foresight can cause many to lose their jobs unnecessarily.