Some people are excited that legalizing marijuana is gaining traction at the state level. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law even if it is for “medicinal” use. The tug-o-war between state and federal law over the legalization of marijuana raises questions for those in Colorado. Grab some snacks to satisfy the munchies as you enjoy the following question-answer session.
Q: Can I lose my job for smoking pot at home on my own time?
A: The answer in Colorado is a qualified “yes.” The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that an employer may terminate an employee for “medical” marijuana use. The Colorado Supreme Court is reviewing that decision. If you want to read more, I wrote an article for The Colorado Lawyer about medical marijuana and employment law that you can find here.
Q: I have a warehouse I want to lease to a marijuana business that is illegal under state law. Is this a good idea?
A: Are you high? That is a terrible idea. Do you like prison?
Q: I am too pretty for prison. I will lease the warehouse to a marijuana business that is legal under state law. Happy now?
A: You are not out of the woods. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and federal drug laws can trump state drug laws. The current approach by the feds to marijuana businesses that comply with state law can change at any time. If that happens, anyone involved in the business could face prosecution and efforts by the federal government to seize property. You had better take a hard look at whether that anvil could land on your head. You also should find out what other risks are involved.
Q: Stop harshing my mellow, man.
A: Sorry. So long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, getting involved with that business carries additional risks.
Q: Do you have any good news?
A: Yes. I brought you some bags of Cheetos.
Q: Excellent, dude!
This post provides general information only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about a specific situation. Laws change and your situation may be different. You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.