One of the first two states to legalize cannabis, Colorado has been a bastion of weed freedom. Now state lawmakers are trying to fix a “glaring hole” that leaves Coloradan cannabis users vulnerable.

House Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, has introduced bill which would prevent businesses from firing employees for state-legal cannabis use.

“It was just a glaring gap that we have here in the statute, especially when we’re supposed to regulate marijuana like we are with alcohol,” Melton said, as reported by The Denver Post.

“If someone’s able to drink while they’re at home and on their free time, as long as they’re not coming into work intoxicated, then they’re not penalized with their employment.”

As Melton indicates, his bill targets a much-contested aspect of Colorado law. It is currently illegal for employers to fire workers for legal activities off the clock, even if that activity is against company policy. For instance, many workplaces would fire an employee for showing up to work drunk, but couldn’t can them for getting wasted after work.

However, the state law as it stands only applies to activities which are legal on the state and federal level, so cannabis use is not covered. Melton’s bill would change the law so that it not only protects cannabis users, but also those who partake in any other drugs which the state may legalize in the future, for instance psilocybin.

Not everyone’s a big fan of the proposed bill; for instance, businesses. A representative from the Colorado Chamber of Commerce told the Post that she expects the group’s policy committee to oppose the bill.

Melton said. “I’m more than willing to listen to the business community and see how maybe we can tighten language up if necessary,” Melton said.

“We may have to put some more guardrails and definitions.”

Assigned to the state’s House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, the bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. 

Photo via Flickr/Nina A. J. G.

Natalie