Appeals cases generally have one thing in common — they’re often complex cases, with murky evidence and/or contentious issues at their heart. Medical marijuana is one of the most controversial topics at the moment, and the U.S. Court of Appeals (or the federal circuit court) is seeing its fair share of appeals relating to the topic. Colorado courts, along with judges and federal appeal lawyers, will soon make a landmark decision about employment and medical marijuana, for example.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of the most reputable jobs require at least one (if not several) drug tests. Testing positive for marijuana use will typically disqualify job applicants — and even cost current employees their jobs. And that’s exactly what happened in Colorado, when a drug test found marijuana in Brandon Coats’ system. Coats is appealing the decision and the legality of his termination, however. As a quadriplegic and survivor of a traumatic car accident, Coats has a prescription for medical marijuana. Coats believes that this prescription excuses him from testing positive for marijuana, something normally perceived as illegal and solid grounds for dismissal. Using marijuana medicinally — with a license — is, by contrast, perfectly legal in Colorado.
Coats and his legal attorney assert that using prescription marijuana outside of work is not reason enough for termination. Coats’ former employer may argue that Coats may or may not have been using marijuana on the job. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when marijuana use occurred on a drug test; drug tests determine that people have smoked or used marijuana within the past 30 days — not the exact hours they used it during that month. Appellate attorneys may very well be able to make a case for Coats — especially considering that he is using marijuana as a medical treatment.
Legal attorneys and the U.S. Court of Appeals review more than 10,000 cases per term! Medical marijuana is a contentious issue, and legal attorneys and judges will soon reach a decision about medical marijuana, lawful use, and employee rights.
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