Dish mired in marijuana debate as ex-employee's case reaches Colo. Supreme Court

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) now finds itself at the center of the national debate on medical marijuana use, with a worker it fired in 2010 filing a complaint that has gone all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic and licensed user of medicinal pot, was fired in 2010 by the satellite operator after testing positive for the drug.

Coats, who said he never used marijuana during work hours while employed by Dish, filed suit against the company, alleging employment discrimination.

Colorado state laws protect users of both medicinal and recreational pot, and they also mandate that employees can engage "in any lawful activity off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours."

Complicating the issue, federal laws still define Coats' use as unlawful, which is the basis for Dish's case.

In any event, a pay-TV company has once again found a way to insert itself into a matter that is sure to be, on a public relations level, somewhat polarizing to U.S. consumers.

For more:
- read this Washington Post story
- read this Denver Post story

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