On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that an employer did not violate Colorado law by terminating an employee for testing positive for marijuana, which the employee used for medicinal purposes. Brandon Coats sued his former employer, Dish Network, LLC (“Dish”), for terminating him when he tested positive for the use of marijuana. Mr. Coats, who had a license issued pursuant to Colorado law for the use of medical marijuana, sued Dish alleging that it violated Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” which prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for engaging in “lawful” activities outside of work. The Colorado Supreme Court found that because the use of marijuana is prohibited by federal law, the use of medical marijuana is not a “lawful” activity for purposes of the “lawful activities statute.”
While the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision is a positive one for employers, it is specific to Colorado law, and is not binding in Florida. Florida does not have a comparable “lawful activities statute.” However, because of Charlotte’s Web and continuing efforts to legalize additional strains of marijuana for medical use in Florida,.