Federal Law Trumps Colorado’s on Medical Marijuana
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Federal Law Trumps Colorado’s on Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 26, 2013 at 05:30:09 PT
By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times
Source: Washington Times
Denver -- A severely disabled man fired because of his after-hours medical-marijuana use has no legal recourse because the drug remains banned under federal law, a Colorado court ruled Thursday.A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld 2-1 the firing of Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who has a prescription for the drug in a state that permits medical marijuana, saying he was not protected from dismissal under the Colorado Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute.
The statute prohibits employers from dismissing employees who engage in legal activity outside of work, but says nothing about those who violate federal but not state law.“Plaintiff contends that we must read ‘lawful activity’ to include activity that is prohibited by federal law, but not state law,” said Chief Judge Janice Davidson in the divided opinion. “However, while we agree that the general purpose of [the law] is to keep an employer’s proverbial nose out of an employee’s off-site hours business we can find no legislative intent to extend employment protection to those engaged in activities that violate federal law.”The case illustrates the ongoing tension between federal and state authorities as voters and legislatures move to legalize medical marijuana in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.The conflict is likely to intensify after the passage of ballot measures in November approving recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over in Colorado and Washington.Brian Vicente, a Denver lawyer and marijuana- decriminalization advocate, called the court’s ruling “disappointing” given the recent moves by Colorado voters to legalize medical and recreational pot.“I thought it was an inappropriate reliance on federal law — the court used that as an ‘out’ to avoid a ruling based on state law,” Mr. Vicente said.At the same time, he said, the ruling underscores the need for the state legislature to update the Colorado Lawful Activities Statute, which originally was intended to protect tobacco smokers from being fired.“We call it ‘the smokers’ rights statute,’ but the court’s take was that Colorado needs to revisit this statute to incorporate medical and now adult recreational use,” Mr. Vicente said.The Colorado legislature is now considering a package of bills designed to create a regulatory framework for recreational marijuana as required by Amendment 64, which won 55 percent of the vote in November.Nearly 109,000 Colorado residents hold valid medical-marijuana registry cards. The most common medical condition cited for treatment is “severe pain,” reported by 94 percent of cardholders, followed by “muscle spasms” at 16 percent, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.Mr. Coats worked as a telephone operator for Dish Network until he was fired in 2010 for failing a drug test in violation of the company’s drug policy.In his lawsuit, Mr. Coats said he never used marijuana at work and was never under the influence of the drug while on duty.Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Valerie Richardson, The Washington TimesPublished: April 25, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Washington Times, LLC Website: letters URL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by mexweed on April 28, 2013 at 13:44:50 PT:
Forget "employment", self-entrepreneurize!
"Worked as a telephone operator"? Mr. Coats, would you consider creating your own job as an entrepreneur? Read voraciously on line about many subjects and expertise yourself into something. Get in touch with possible partners to help STARTUP something. That's what Gaawd wants you to use the mind-part of your cannabis to do.Notice the Washington Times language: "The drug remains banned under federal law"-- that is right wing newspaper jargon, cannabis is a nutritional herb supplement. Your body uses it to stoke up selfcurative energetic procedures, it is not something that inflicts a drug effect ON passive little you ("drug" effects from "smoking" are caused by heat shock, carbon monoxide, combustion toxins etc.). If you agree with me on that, maybe you can promote yourself as a counselor to other would-be cannabis users, medical, occupational or inspirational, en route to raise themselves out of the rut of wage obedience.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on April 27, 2013 at 04:50:22 PT
Mark [Bubble Boy] Souder?
Lapdog, Liar or Lunatic?Prohibitionist fit into one of these categories. Mark is the beginning of a trend. Watch these idiots go down like Gerald Ford boarding an airplane.Even Kerli Gil and his lapdog Volkow have a very short shelf life. Kerli Gil may as well be trying to revive the buggy whip market. 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on April 26, 2013 at 08:56:12 PT
Prohibitionists at work.
Colorado marijuana-legalization backers say repeal effort is afoot campaign behind Amendment 64 has called a news conference Friday morning to decry what they say is an effort to repeal the marijuana-legalization measure.In a news release sent early Friday, Mason Tvert, one of the amendment's authors, said "numerous" lawmakers are secretly considering putting a measure before voters that would repeal marijuana legalization in Colorado if voters don't pass a separate measure on marijuana taxes this November. The tax measure —Cont.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on April 26, 2013 at 08:30:52 PT
The ability to discriminate against citizens who use cannabis, based on federal law hinges on it's discredited label as a Schedule I substance. At any given moment things can change.Dish Network
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