On May 29, 2013 Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper singed legislation – Colorado Amendment 64 – that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state. The law conflicts with Federal law but it remains to be seen what the Feds will do.
What does Amendment 64 mean to employers in Colorado? Especially to HR departments who will be asked to lead the way.
Here are the basics of the law:
- The Colorado Department of Revenue has detailed the rules of how recreational marijuana should be licensed regulated and sold in the state.
- Colorado adults, 21 years or older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and can grow up to six plants, three of which can be flowering at a time. The plants must be in a private and enclosed secure facility like a private home or apartment.
- Colorado adults are limited to purchasing up to an ounce of marijuana from a specialty licensed retail shop.
- Adult tourists in Colorado are limited to purchasing only a quarter of an ounce.
- Public use is prohibited.
- Employers do not need to allow marijuana use in the workplace.
- Employers do not need to ignore previous marijuana related convictions in a criminal background check.
- Recreational marijuana sales will begin January 1, 2014.
It’s important to note that despite the legalization of recreational marijuana, employers can still include marijuana use in their anti-drug policies. In the Coats v. Dish Network, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that employers can have and enforce anti drug policies because the federal Controlled Substances Act still prohibits marijuana use and that Colorado’s “lawful activity” statute did not apply. While this case addressed medical marijuana, it can and probably will, be applicable to recreational use.