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.
Melton said Tuesday that the timing for the bill was right and that people should not be concerned that the measure would be opening up loopholes for people to be under the influence of marijuana while on the clock.
The Colorado Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday it did not have an official stance on the bill but that it was already hearing from certain industries with concerns.
He told Denver7 Tuesday his bill would not affect pre-employment drug screenings, which often still include tests for marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, but would address random drug screenings involving marijuana for people who are already employed by a company.
But he also acknowledged that employees are not currently protected from being fired for a positive marijuana test because it is not protected.
“We’re hearing concerns from businesses regarding the safety of their employees – particularly in certain industries with high-risk equipment, like oil and gas or mining,” Colorado Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Cynthia Meyer said. “Employers want to have the flexibility to implement zero tolerance drug policies and we’ll be engaging lawmakers on this issue as it moves forward.”
Melton says his bill would clarify such discrepancies between state and federal laws. It would not apply to federal employees or employees whose companies are subject to following federal drug-testing rules, however.
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, as originally written, 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. Our news partners at The Denver Post first reported on the bill on Tuesday.
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.