Pro Stone-o: The Burgeoning Marijuana Legal Field
- Jun 18, 2015
- Lawsuits, Legal Life
I typically break some unhappy news to my students on the first day of Blueprint courses. I teach in the Bay Area, after all, so the matter is highly pertinent.
“…and, yes, I do recommend you lay off your sticky green habits while studying for the LSAT.”
I’m not really in a position to pile invective on such recreation. But, as I always tell my students, it’s probably safe to say that you’re not doing your short-term memory or your assiduity any favors when you’re toking regularly.
But as some of my recent students have delighted in pointing out, there is an important intersection between marijuana and the law, and it’s growing rapidly. In Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — and surely several other states by 2016 — there is already a thriving legal enterprise around the finances, regulations, and even mergers and acquisitions in the inchoate pot industry. In fact, some enterprising San Francisco lawyers recently started the Cannabis Bar Association, “the nation’s first professional body to specialize in helping businesses navigate complex marijuana regulations rather than in defending drug cases.” With law jobs in many sectors still at a premium, perhaps it’s not surprising that many lawyers are interested in combining their professional interests and *cough* extracurricular activities *cough*.
Most fascinating to me, however, is a burgeoning new facet of employment law relating to after-work consumption of marijuana. On June 15th, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled unanimously that companies can fire employees for smoking weed, even if they never come in to work high. The case, brought on behalf of Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who uses marijuana to minimize his muscle spasms, hinged on the court’s determination that Colorado’s “lawful activities statute” pertains only to those activities lawful under both state and federal law. Because cannabis remains classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, with no federally recognized medical value and a high potential for abuse, it is not covered as a lawful activity.
Do you think you people should be laid off for lighting up? Are you interested in working for bigbud? Use the comments section to chime in, future lawyers!
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