Coats filed a lawsuit alleging that Dish was guilty of employment discrimination. State law protects employees from being fired for “engaging in any lawful activity off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.” Dish filed a motion to dismiss, saying using marijuana was not “lawful activity.”
A trial court found that Coats’s marijuana use was not considered “lawful activity” under Colorado law because, although medical use has been legal in the state since 2000, it’s still prohibited by federal law, court documents state.
“There’s a lot of people out there like me who would like to have a job but cannot, because their impairment requires them to use marijuana, and because marijuana’s looked down on for employment, they’re not able to get jobs,” Coats told Colorado Public Radio News.
Colorado allows licensed residents to obtain up to two ounces of usable marijuana for medical use, and recreational use became legal in January. However, it does not require employers to “accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace.”
“We’re looking for something that both employers and employees can find a reasonable, working, practical solution,” Coats’s attorney, Michael Evans, told Colorado Public Radio News. “I think we can find a way to live together and not terminate these people.”