Colorado: Medical Marijuana User Fired After Failing Drug Test

February 13, 2010 – A Colorado Springs man who can legally smoke marijuana is now jobless after he failed his company’s drug test. He says he was within company policy because he has a medical marijuana card and uses the drug for a medical condition.

Luke Vezey says medical marijuana is one of the only things that helps him with his chronic stomach pain.

“I’ve had stomach problems for a few years,” Vezey said.

He can legally smoke the drug because he has his medical marijuana card. He got it several months ago after seeing a doctor and just months after he took a job as a guard at a private jail facility in Colorado Springs.

“What I do is strictly for my stomach, I do it outside of work, I’ve never come in under the influence,” Vezey said.

Luke says when he was asked to take a random drug test at work he was well aware that his workplace was drug free.

“I looked at the policy and researched it and that’s why I decided to go forward with it,” Vezey said.

He thought he was in compliance because he had a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana. The drug policy under which he was employed prohibits the use of illegal drugs, but over the counter drugs and those properly prescribed by a physician are not subject to the policy. In Colorado medical marijuana is legal. Still, when Luke failed his drug test his employer placed him on administrative leave.

“Legally I’ve done nothing wrong,” Vezey said.

Luke says he was on leave for more than two months before receiving a certified letter in the mail telling him that he’d been terminated. “I was a little surprised, I’ve done nothing but try to get back to work,” Vezey said.

We asked Colorado Springs attorney Kevin Donavon about Luke’s case. He says there is a lot of confusion around the current law because there is no such thing as a medical marijuana prescription. “There is no prescription, marijuana prescription. It’s a recommendation by the doctor and if you have that recommendation that allows you immunity from prosecution,” Donovan said.

But it doesn’t protect you from losing your job. “You’re going to be fired if you use illegal drugs and it’s not an illegal drug in the state of Colorado, but it is federally,” Donovan said.

Now, Luke is sharing his story in the hope that he can save someone else from going through what he has.

Luke’s former employer can’t comment on the case, for privacy reasons, but said all employees are hired knowing it’s a drug free workplace and that includes marijuana.

Luke is still fighting the decision with an attorney, and looking for a new job. Source.

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