In a landmark case that’s being case watched across the country, the Colorado State Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Coats v. Dish Network over the company’s marijuana policy this week.

Recreational marijuana use might be legal in Colorado, but employees can still be fired for using it. That’s what happened in 2010, when Dish Network fired Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient after he failed a random drug test. Coats was working as a phone operator and said he was never high at work, but he’s been unable to find new employment because potential employers are concerned about his off-duty smoking. Coats was paralyzed in a car crash as a teenager and started using medical marijuana in 2009 to calm violent muscle spasms that made it difficult for him to work.

The 35-year-old took the case to trial, arguing his termination violated employee rights because medical marijuana is legal in Colorado. Advocates argue that it’s a violation of privacy to test for a legal substance. But a court disagreed, as did an appeals court. Now, the state Supreme Court will be weighing in on the matter.

The outcome of this case is expected to set a a precedent for similar lawsuits by employees who are fired for smoking marijuana in states where marijuana use is legal.

  • SandyLee

    While I’m not a supporter of legalized recreational marijuana, I do recognize its medicinal qualities for those who need it. In this case, I think it should be handled as if the employee was on a prescription pain killer or anything else like that. Most people probably shouldn’t take a heavy duty narcotic while at work, but if it’s a prescribed medication and they take it on their own time, there shouldn’t be a problem with that.

  • Dodie Peterson

    I’m an advocate of legalized marijuana so perhaps that colors my opinion on the topic, but I think this is completely unfair of the company. If he was high while working, then yes, he should be fired, but what he does on his own time should be his business.