Marijuana may be legal, but you can still get fired for smoking it

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Washington's new pot law does not protect many workers from company drug laws.

At U.S. HealthWorks Medical Clinic in Seattle, nearly a dozen people filled the lobby waiting to be drug tested as part of their application for employment.

Their urine is collected, poured into a vial and labeled. A quick test shows if the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, may be present.

"I think that because its voted in that its OK for them to smoke it." says Yolanda Morgan, clinic manager. "They need to check with who ever they're applying to and if the policy states no drug tolerance, its no drug tolerance."

Several Washington companies tell KING 5 News that Washington's new pot law will not change the way they do business.

Boeing, which has federal contracts, says, "Use of marijuana by Boeing employees is prohibited regardless of state law."

Costco reports, "Drug testing is a requirement to be hired. Nothing will change. Marijuana is illegal under federal law."

Employment attorney Mike Subit, who argued an important medical marijuana case before the Washington Supreme Court, warns pot smoking workers. 

"They're not protected from federal prosecution and they're not protected from being fired," he said.

It may be different in the public sector. The Seattle Police Department's Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said,

"We have to look at our hiring practices and policies for existing employees and work with the feds, so these relations are intact."

So before you light up with excitement, consider the possible employment risks.

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