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Landmark Ruling Says You Can Be Fired for Medical Marijuana Use

The intersection of medical marijuana use and employment has long been a contentious issue, and a recent decision by the Colorado Supreme Court has added further complexity to this legal landscape. In a landmark ruling, the court held that individuals with medical marijuana prescriptions can be terminated from their jobs if a drug test reveals the presence of THC, even in the absence of evidence of impairment. This ruling has significant implications for medical marijuana patients in Colorado. It underscores the need for a thorough understanding of the legal intricacies surrounding this issue.

The case that brought this matter to the forefront of legal discussion involved Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who had been using medical marijuana to manage his debilitating condition. Mr. Coats, employed as a phone operator at Dish Network, faced termination after a random drug test detected THC in his system. It’s important to note that there was no evidence suggesting impairment during work hours due to marijuana use.

Despite his compelling circumstances, Mr. Coats initially lost his case because medical marijuana use was not considered a “lawful activity.” Subsequently, he appealed the decision in the state appellate court, where he faced another setback. The court ruled that federal law precedes state law in this matter. Ultimately, the Colorado Supreme Court concurred with the lower courts, leading to Mr. Coats’ case dismissal.

This verdict has far-reaching implications, particularly for employees in states with robust medical marijuana laws. It presents a dilemma for individuals who rely on medical marijuana to manage their health conditions while seeking or maintaining employment. The divide between state and federal law has created a legal grey area, leaving medical marijuana patients in a precarious position.

Many questions arise from this ruling. How can medical marijuana patients protect their rights in the workplace? What steps can be taken to ensure job security while utilizing medical marijuana as prescribed? These are crucial concerns that demand expert legal guidance.

At Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, our legal team understands the complexities of medical marijuana laws in Colorado. We recognize the challenges faced by individuals who rely on medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes and seek to provide clarity in this intricate legal landscape. While the recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling may appear discouraging, it does not diminish the importance of understanding your rights and seeking legal counsel to navigate this issue effectively.


In conclusion, the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision has raised critical questions regarding the employment rights of medical marijuana patients. To address these concerns and safeguard your interests, it is essential to consult with an attorney well-versed in medical marijuana law. At Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, we are committed to assisting individuals facing these complex legal challenges. Contact us today for expert guidance and unwavering advocacy.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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