The effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado began when medical marijuana usage became law with the passage of Ballot Amendment 20 which was approved on November 7, 2000 by 54% of voters. It became effective June 1, 2001, and since this date the effects of marijuana legalization have a source of dispute between employers and employees. This law allows those who have been prescribed marijuana by their physician to legally use the drug in the state of Colorado without fear of arrest. The physician must state that the patient suffers from a serious medical condition that could improve with marijuana use.
The effects of marijuana legalization present a problem for employers who decide to perform mandatory drug testing of their employees. Although Colorado does have an anti-discrimination provision to their medical marijuana laws, employers still retain the right to fire any employee who tests positive for marijuana . Employers may rightfully claim this right through the federal law that makes marijuana possession, cultivation, or use illegal.
Of course, most people would agree that employers have the right to have employees who are sober and straight while at work. No employer could be expected to harbor employees who are not performing their job duties because of any drug or alcohol use, even if it is helpful for medical conditions. Employers must clearly state in their policies for employees that medical marijuana is not permissible on the job, and that any positive drug test will result in termination of employment if they intend to implement a work policy such as this.
The effects of marijuana legalization also encompass the fact that employers must also adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 29 C.R.R. 1630.14 which protects employees from being discriminated against because of a mental or physical condition. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, but it is still questionable whether or not this includes the use of medical marijuana .
Only one state, Rhode Island, has a law against firing a worker for using a lawful substance. The Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act protects workers who must take mandatory drug tests at work. So far, Colorado has no such law, and an employer may fire a worker who tests positive, even if the worker has a legal pass from his or her physician.
Source by Jerry Cantrell