Colorado is a different story. Amendment 20 says employers are not required to “accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any work place.” But the law does not explicitly state whether an employer has the right to fire an employee who uses medical marijuana at home. Coats’ supporters believe his case has the opportunity to remove this gray area and set a precedent for future medical marijuana patients who use the substance outside the office. “The AG’s ‘affirmative defense’ position diminishes our constitutional rights by attempting to reduce them to a mere ‘get out of jail free card,'” said Kim Ryan, a Denver attorney who has consulted on Coats’ case.
“That is not what citizens voted for — Colorado’s Constitution guarantees a bundle of medical marijuana rights, including to possess, use, transport, and grow, among several other rights spelled out expressly in Amendments 20 and 64. The AG’s position is contrary to the clear public policies in our state protecting citizens with disabilities, and it is heartbreaking that his office is using public resources to go after medical patients’ rights in this way.” “We must never forget that Mr. Coats was a successful worker who simply used a medicine his corporate bosses don’t like,” Ryan added. Coats said he was ranked in the top 5 percent of his fellow telephone customer service representatives and was eventually moved into a more prestigious commercial section of his department. It was where the better employees worked, he said.