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Workers Can Get Fired for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use – Even in “Legal” States

As Oregonians adjust to the new recreational marijuana law taking effect today, a national legal expert notes that state courts have come down squarely on the side of employers who’ve fired workers for off-duty use of the drug, even when it’s been prescribed for medicinal purposes.

Even in the blue states of Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado, where medical marijuana is permitted, state courts have ruled for employers in those circumstances, saying they are within their rights because federal law classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.

“The courts are saying, ‘We’re not going to condone activity that is predicated on an act that’s illegal under federal law,’ ” said Jim Shore, a Seattle-based partner with the Stoel Rives law firm who has nearly 30 years of experience in labor and employment law.

“Until Congress takes marijuana off Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, where it’s classified at the same level as heroin, LSD and ecstasy, it is illegal for all purposes. It is not authorized for medical use and cannot be used even for medical reasons (in the workplace),” he said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive. [Read more at the Portland Oregonian]

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