Attorney Carney Shegerian, founder of the Los Angeles-based employment discrimination firm Shegerian & Associates, recently released comments on the Colorado Supreme Court medical marijuana ruling in favor of a lower court’s decision to uphold Dish Network’s decision to fire an employee, 35 year-old Brandon Coates, after he failed to pass a random drug screening.

“Even though Coates was not found to engage in medical marijuana use while on the job, nor was he found to be high while at work, he was terminated from his job for failing to pass his drug test due to state-legal medical marijuana use. This is an unfortunate ruling for medical marijuana patients throughout the state who seek to maintain gainful employment.”

“The significance of this case highlights what can happen when state law is at odds with federal law,” Shegerian went on to say. “State law in Colorado has given residents the right to buy, sell and use medical and recreational marijuana, but marijuana use is still an illegal act under federal law. It’s interesting that the workplace is one of the first places to highlight the obvious tension between these two very important levels of law on the medical marijuana issue.”

“The ruling essentially trumps those rights in favor of only recognizing marijuana-use rights that are upheld by both federal and state law – a significant setback for employees who depend on medical marijuana.”


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