The Colorado Supreme Court today issued its long-awaited and very important decision in the Brandon Coats v. Dish Network case involving a young man, severely disabled, who was terminated from his employment because he used medical marihuana that, he argued, was a “lawful activity” under state law.
The Court’s decision, 6-0, that affirmed a lower court’s verdict, found that the federal law is relevant in determining what is considered “lawful” under Colorado’s “lawful activities statute.” In other words, Coats’ argument that he was engaging in lawful activities under Colorado state law did not shield him from violating federal law and, as a consequence, being in violation of the state’s lawful activities statute.
The Court’s opinion is important not only because it was reached by the Colorado Supreme Court, but also because many other states considering adopting similar marihuana legislation as Colorado will now perhaps reconsider doing so. This also may influence the present case involving a motion before the US Supreme Court by OK and NE asking permission to file suit against CO for claims arising from what is claimed to be damages related to an unconstitutional state statute permitting the production and distribution of marihuana for recreational purposes, etc.
This is an important decision on several levels, not the least of which is how it will affect employment law. Go here to read the Court’s decision: http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2015/0615/20150615_085459_coats-vs-dish.pdf.
Drug Watch International