Court says pot smokers can be fired even in Colo.

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DENVER (AP) -- Medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but an appeals court says employers can lawfully fire workers who test positive for the drug, even if it was used off duty.

The Colorado Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling, found there is no employment protection for medical marijuana users in the state since the drug remains barred by the federal government.

The case involves 33-year-old Brandon Coats, a telephone operator for Englewood, Colo.-based Dish Network. Coats was paralyzed in a car crash as a teenager and has been a medical marijuana patient in the state since 2009.

He was fired in 2010 for failing a company drug test, though his employer didn't claim he was ever impaired on the job.

The ruling is expected to be appealed.

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