Colorado House tables Aurora lawmaker’s bill protecting employee marijuana use

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Recreational use of marijuana has done little to change rules regarding use of the drug in the workplace, including a newly failed attempt in the Colorado Legislature this week. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

DENVER  |  Colorado legislators declined to advance a bill meant to protect employees from being fired for using marijuana during their personal time.

The 10 members of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee voted unanimously against the bill Wednesday, The Denver Post reported.

The measure would not have prohibited employers from administering drug tests, but committee members cited the lack of an adequate test to determine whether an employee is intoxicated in the moment as a reason to table the bill.

Other lawmakers thought the proposed change to existing law was too broad.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, was inspired by a court case in which a medical marijuana patient was fired from Dish Network after failing a drug test.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of the employer because justices believed the state’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute defined “lawful” as adhering to both state and federal law.

Marijuana is legal at the state level but still listed as a federal Schedule I drug, the category for drugs considered the most dangerous, so the bill aimed to make the use of cannabis a lawful off-duty activity.