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Reader: If They're High, They Should Be Fired. If They're Drunk, Fired!

Reader: If They're High, They Should Be Fired. If They're Drunk, Fired!
Jacqueline Collins

At companies across Colorado, testing positive for marijuana is still legal grounds for dismissal, even if your employer acknowledges that you weren't high on the job.

Amendment 64, the ballot initiative that voters approved in 2012 to legalize recreational weed in Colorado, says that "marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol," but that hasn't made the plant equal to alcohol in the eyes of many employers. Now, more than seven years after Coloradans legalized marijuana, state lawmakers may finally be ready to address the issue this year.

Introduced by Representative Jovan Melton, House Bill 1089 would prohibit an employer from terminating an employee for "lawful off-duty activities," even if those activities are illegal under federal law.

About time, say most readers: 

My employer does not get to control my actions or behavior when I’m not working.

Adds Nick: 

As a regular marijuana user, I don't believe it's a problem for people to use off hours. But I do have a problem with the government getting involved in private business owners decisions on who they can or can't keep employed.

Notes Scott: 

Marijuana Deals Near You

For all the people against this, Nevada has had it in place for several months now and the sky hasn't fallen. This would protect people who legally use cannabis in their free time. It's still not allowed to be used at work, for those of you that think everyone who isn't now will go to work high. For those of us that have gone to a job high, we must not have been that high or you would have noticed.

No, I don't want a truck driver driving high any more than I want one driving drunk. We have laws for that already. This is about having it in your system and not losing your job because of it.

Suggest James: 

There are jobs where federal law requires termination. Anything else? No.

Responds Matt: 

But how does an employer determine liability with a workplace incident? It’s a real dilemma. Worker’s compensation in CO requires testing in these situations.

Comments Sean:

The sad part is anyone in a safety-sensitive job can't smoke weed to relax and get well-rested in off hours due to federal legalities, but you can get shit-faced drunk the night before and come in deathly hungover and drive commercial vehicles or operate heavy equipment as long as you can pass a breathalyzer or piss test.

Notes Henry: 

Funny how every single pothead always tries to turn it around to alcohol. Hate to say it, we know, smell and can see when you are high at work as well.

Concludes Patrick:

 If they’re high, they should be fired. If they’re drunk, they should be fired. Just because they were high or drunk two nights ago does not mean they should be fired!

Colorado NORML has pushed for legislation addressing employee rights in regards to off-duty marijuana use for over five years, but this is the first time it's gotten a bill introduced. Director Ashley Weber believes support for the measure will come largely from medical marijuana and cannabis activist organizations such as Canna-Patient Resource Connection, Safe Access Colorado and the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council, but thinks Republican lawmakers should support it as a states'-rights issue as well.

What do you think of the proposal? Post a comment or email your thoughts to marijuana@westword.com.

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