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Can you get fired for off-duty marijuana use?

Posted on April 13, 2022

Both medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal in many states, and these states afford both residents and visitors a fair amount of legal protection. However, the laws governing the state of Colorado may not be the same as those in your home state.

Employees of any company are subject to the rules of an employee handbook, and in most at-will states, employers have the option to fire an employee for showing up to work while under the influence. The challenge is figuring out whether or not you could face termination for using marijuana while off-duty.

Use of medical marijuana

In 39 states and the district of Columbia, medical marijuana is legal. However, not all of these states carry employment protections, and provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act do not always apply. As medical cannabis is still considered federally illegal, there are no guarantees of succeeding in a discrimination case for employees testing positive for marijuana and facing consequences, despite the use occurring while off-duty.

Recreational use of marijuana

Using marijuana recreationally while on vacation could still have consequences despite using it in a state where it is legal. Employers could have legal grounds to terminate an employee in order to enforce a workplace drug policy, particularly if the individual fails a legal drug test. Social media posts or photos of participating in recreational drug use while on vacation or at home could incite a termination.

While marijuana use may be legal, there are still employment concerns to address. Consider the possible implications of using before participating.