Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical-marijuana patient, and his attorney, Michael Evans, talk about Coats' case in 2013. (Andy Cross, Denver Post file)

Brandon Coats speaks: ‘The case has brought the issue out into the light’

Brandon Coats, who was fired in 2010 after failing a random drug test, said he's pleased the employment issues surrounding legal marijuana use have gotten more attention

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed lower courts’ rulings that businesses can fire employees for the use of medical marijuana — even if it’s off-duty.

The 6-0 decision comes nine months after the state’s highest court heard oral arguments in Brandon Coats’ case against Dish Network. Coats, who had a medical marijuana card and consumed pot off-duty to control muscle spasms, was fired in 2010 after failing a random drug test.

Coats challenged Dish’s zero-tolerance drug policy, claiming that his use was legal under state law. The firing was upheld in both trial court and the Colorado Court of Appeals.

“I’m disappointed, but I feel that the case has brought the issue out into the light. It’s made it an issue, ‘cos it is an issue,” Coats told us in the above video interview. “That makes me feel good.”