A quadriplegic man who takes legal medical marijuana to help deal with muscle spasms was terminated from his job after failing a random drug test.
Brandon Coats was fired as a customer service representative at satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp. after failing a random drug test, even though Coats lives in Colorado where marijuana is legal for medical use, according to Bloomberg.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” the 34-year-old Coats said of his 2010 termination. “I had a doctor’s permission to do something I need to help me get on with my life.”
The Weed Blog notes that the Colorado Appeals Court ruled in April that a company has the right to fire people based on marijuana use, even though it’s legal for both medical and recreational use in Colorado.
“Employers ought to reconsider their drug testing policies in states where medical marijuana is legal,” Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, N.J., told Bloomberg. “Why discriminate against marijuana users? They’re not different than beer drinkers.”
Coats has not been able to find a job since he was fired by Dish three years ago.
“As a national company, DISH is committed to its drug-free workplace policy and compliance with federal law, which does not permit the use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes,” said Bob Toevs, a spokesman for Dish in an e-mail to Bloomberg.