Colorado Supreme Court rules workers can be fired for marijuana use

Skyler Leonard

Although marijuana is legal in Colorado, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get fired for using it.

The Colorado Supreme Court announced Monday that companies can fire employees if they use medical marijuana, even though it is legal under state law.


The case, Coats v. Dish Network, was brought to the court after Brandon Coats sued Dish Network. The company fired Coats because of his marijuana use, but Coats claimed that his use was through state licensed medicinal marijuana and that it was consumed after work hours.

Coats claimed that Dish violated a state law, which claims that an employee cannot be fired over any lawful activity occurring after work hours.

In the 6-0 court ruling, however, the definition of lawful was found to be more encompassing than just the state level, meaning that there is still a federal precedence when dealing with marijuana.

“Therefore, employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute,” wrote the justices in their ruling. “We therefore affirm the court of appeals’ opinion.”

Collegian Senior Reporter Skyler Leonard can be reached at or on twitter @Skyler_Leonard.