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Colorado High Court to Rule on Rocky Mountain High

The issue of medical marijuana continues to make news in Colorado. Earlier this year, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the 2013 Colorado Court of Appeals ruling in Coats v. Dish Network, which analyzed the relationship between Colorado’s medical marijuana law and Colorado’s Lawful Activities Statute. The Lawful Activities Statute prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees who engage in lawful activities outside of work. The Court of Appeals concluded that since marijuana use remains unlawful under federal law (for medical purposes or otherwise), off-duty medical marijuana use is not protected as “lawful activity” under Colorado’s Lawful Activities Statute. Thus, the employer lawfully discharged the former employee for off-duty use of medical marijuana even though the use was pursuant to Colorado’s medical marijuana law.

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