You Can't Be Fired for Testing Positive for Weed in Colorado.
DENVER - An Aurora lawmaker has introduced a bill that, if passed, would prohibit companies from firing employees in Colorado simply because they legally use marijuana while they are not at work.
Rep. Jovan Melton introduced HB20-1089 on Friday. The measure, aims to take another step in Colorado to treat marijuana like alcohol, Melton said in an interview Tuesday. State law prohibits employers from firing employees for their off-duty activities, including alcohol consumption, but not for their off-duty marijuana usage despite marijuana being legal both recreationally and medically in Colorado since 2014. HB20-1089 seeks to protect people partaking in things legal under Colorado law even if they are still illegal under federal law, and it would not apply only to marijuana - though that is the main driver behind the measure.
"By clarifying that the prohibition on termination for lawful off-duty activities includes activities that are lawful under state law, even if not lawful under federal law, the statute will be brought into harmony with the requirements of the Colorado constitution" Melton's bill reads.
Melton said Tuesday his bill would not affect pre-employment drug screenings, which often still include tests for marijuana's active ingredient, THC. But the bill would address random drug screenings involving marijuana for people who are already employed by a company.
"With alcohol, I don't expect somebody to be able to come to work intoxicated. But at the same time, if you go home after your job and you had a drink - as long as you're not coming back to work intoxicated, that's your business," he said.
Forty-four states now have legal medical and/or recreational programs on the books. Many states have been working to figure out how to address employer drug testing for THC, which can be found in a person's system up to 30 days after a single use, and has complicated random drug testing and initial employment screenings in states like Colorado.
A Quest Diagnostics analysis released last April showed that workforce positive drug test rates were at a 14-year high nationwide in 2018, and that marijuana was at the top of the list of the most commonly detected substances for which people tested positive.