The full or partial legalization of marijuana by many states creates many related legal issues. One of those issues is what, if anything, employers can do to employees who test positive for using it in states where it is permitted. The New York Times discussed the situation involving,
Brandon Coats, who answers customer calls for the Dish Network in Denver, has been paralyzed since a car crash at the age of 16, and smokes marijuana at night to relieve painful spasms. As Jack Healy reported in The Times on Monday, Mr. Coats was fired in 2010 for failing a random drug test, even though he carries a valid medical marijuana card.
One particularly hypocritical employer is the National Football League, which generously dispenses prescription pain pills to its players (and encourages beer drinking in the stands) but regularly suspends players — including Von Miller of the Broncos and two members of the Seattle Seahawks — for testing positive for marijuana.
The clash between the law and the workplace shows the importance of ending the federal government’s ban on marijuana. The Dish Network, which has been sued by Mr. Coats, has cited the federal ban as part of its defense. Other companies say they need to maintain their drug-free policies to retain federal contracts. The government is encouraging businesses to stay behind the times in states where marijuana is legal; both need to catch up quickly.
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