SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

Utah OnLaw: The Utah Law Review Online Supplement


The state legalization of marijuana has generated an array of questions and challenges for industries such as law enforcement, banking, and even real estate. Moreover, it has created a considerable amount of tension between federal and state law. Despite the legalization of marijuana in various states, employees are still in jeopardy of being fired for their “legal” marijuana use. Based on statutory interpretation, and federal and state court precedent, the federal ADA offers no protections to employees terminated for marijuana use due to the fact that marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance pursuant to the CSA. Few states have, however, implemented supplemental provisions to protect employees’ rights. In other words, employees run a “high” risk of adverse employment action if they use a controlled substance made legal by various states.