Almost half of weed users have gone to work high in marijuana-legal states like Colorado, according to the latest research from Instamator. What’s more is around 40 percent of these high laborers claim to be ripped on the clock at least once a week, the study finds.
Although many experienced cannabis users often claim the intoxicating effects of marijuana does not throw a wrench in their overall work performance, some of these folks could be at risk of losing their jobs. Regardless of the newly legal climate in many jurisdictions all across the United States, employers are still looking to fire stoners.
Workers Who Use Marijuana Can Still Get Fired in Legal States
When Colorado became the first state in the country to legalize the leaf for recreational use, many companies worried that high times would bring about the demise of the economy. But while those wild predictions were rooted in reefer madness, especially considering that, four years later, Colorado has become of the best economies in the nation, employers soon gained ground in their ability to can those of their workers who showed up to put in their eight hours with THC in their system.
Because marijuana remains an outlaw substance in the eyes of the federal government, there is nothing stopping companies from drug testing their workers for weed. Even in legal states, drug-free workplace policies prevent warehouse workers, fork drivers and a variety of others from smoking weed, even on their own time.
In fact, it was just a few years ago that a Colorado medical marijuana patient named Brandon Coats was terminated from his position at Dish Network after testing positive for marijuana.
Although Coats told his boss that he never smoked weed on the job, he was tossed into the unemployment line without question. He later took his case to court and lost.
The Colorado Supreme Court eventually ruled that Dish Network was well within its right to fire Coats over a positive drug test for weed because Uncle Sam still considers it a Schedule I dangerous drug.
“Colorado’s ‘lawful activities statute,’ the term ‘lawful’ refers only to those activities that are lawful under both state and federal law,” the court wrote in its decision. “Therefore, employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute.”
Driving High to Work Can Cause Problems, Too
For those who go to work stoned, there is more at risk than simply losing gainful employment. There is also a risk of getting slapped with a pesky DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.).
Although weed is sold in a manner similar to beer in recreational states, law enforcement is still out there searching for people who get behind the wheel after a few tokes. This is one of the most problematic aspects of marijuana legalization, as there is presently no device available that can accurately detect marijuana intoxication.
This means someone who smoked weed a week ago could still find his or herself in trouble with the law if an officer happens to suspect they are driving stoned. This happens all of the time.
Yet, while a DUID could result in a person having their driver’s license suspended or even revoked—crippling their ability to get to and from work—the inability to prove impairment in marijuana users has caused many of these case to be dismissed—but only if they are taken to trial.
In order for DUID charges to stick, a prosecutor must show evidence that the accused was “impaired,” and not just a “responsible user” abiding the laws set out by the state. In most of these cases, there is very little evidence to prove a motorist is guilty of stoned driving.
Simply Bringing Marijuana to Work Could Get a Person Fired
Although marijuana possession is legal in many states, there is often a separate set of rules when it comes to places of employment. An employer with a zero-tolerance drug policy has the right to forbid marijuana from the premises.
So even that employee who keeps pot in his or her vehicle for those after-hours toke sessions could still be fired if someone happens to snitch. And let’s face it—there is always someone looking to narc out a coworker.
Although this particular situation would not bring about any legal woes, it could if the person smokes weed in the vehicle during lunch break. Public marijuana consumption is against the law in every legal state.
Interesting, the study finds that 50 percent of the respondents who admitted to going to work high are fully aware they could lose their jobs if it was ever discovered. Well over 70 percent of these folks told researchers that they have been reporting to work stoned long before marijuana was ever considered a legal substance.
Yet, the study is a far cry from the kind of scientific exploration needed to paint an accurate portrait of this issue. Instamator, which is an app used to search for used cars, only polled 600 people for the survey. More research is needed in order to get a firm grip on weed in the workplace.