Legal Pot Now a High Priority Among Contractors

Contractor employees in Colorado and Washington hoping to follow the old adage "Smoke 'em if you've got 'em" and fire up a now-legal joint should know that puts their jobs at risk, even if they do it away from work and on their own time.

Voters in both states legalized private marijuana use in November 2012, and Colorado began retail sales of pot on Jan. 1.

Washington will soon follow suit, with at least five other states—Alaska, Tennessee, Arizona, Kentucky and Florida—reportedly considering legalization. Alaska's OK could come in August.

Still, the message to employees from contractor-employers in Colorado, Washington and other states is "Just say no."

Even the limited personal use of pot, legal or not, runs afoul of the industry's stringent safety and drug-use policies and will likely result in termination—despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of firing employees for off-the-job pot use, according to a Nov. 13 Huffington Post-YouGov poll.

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