Could smoking marijuana legally during out-of-state vacation get you fired?

Recreational marijuana is now legal in some of Hawaii residents’ favorite travel destinations, and that includes Las Vegas, Nevada.

But what you do legally in Sin City could actually get you in trouble back home in the Aloha State.

Nevada legalized recreational marijuana in January, joining other states such as Washington, Colorado and Oregon.

So KHON2 wanted to find out if Hawaii residents can get into trouble at work for smoking pot where it’s legal while they’re on vacation?

We spoke with a labor attorney who says Hawaii residents have a constitutional right to privacy, so it can be argued that what you do outside of work, if it’s legal, and does not affect your job performance, should not get you fired.


Section 6. The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest. The legislature shall take affirmative steps to implement this right. [Add Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]


Section 7. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches, seizures and invasions of privacy shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized or the communications sought to be intercepted. [Am Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Marijuana shops have not yet opened in Las Vegas but when they do, some people might get the temptation to partake.

Marijuana can stay in your system for up to 30 days, so what happens when you get home and your employer tells you to take a drug test?

“Right now the law is pretty clear the employer can fire the person under those circumstances,” said labor attorney David Simons.

Simons says it would be hard to fight it if you’re applying for the job.

But what if you’re already employed and your job performance is not in question?

“I think the person would have a legitimate basis to question it and say that because there was no job performance problems at all,” said Simons.

He adds that you would probably need to take it all the way to the Hawaii Supreme Court and argue your right to privacy.

“Because what I did was legal and I do have a right when I’m on my vacation somewhere to follow the laws of that state where does my right to privacy start?” he questions. “How much control should my employer have over me when I’m on vacation?”

Marijuana has been the drug of choice, according to Diagnostic Laboratory Services, which does up to 300 workplace drug tests a day.

Results show an increase from December 2015 to December 2016 of about 13 percent.

Scientific Director Carl Linden tells me he doesn’t really see a trend but he’s surprised by the number of people who test positive, at a rate of two to 300 people every three months.

“Keep in mind these are individuals that are applying for a job and they probably know that they’re going be drug tested so it’s surprising that we even have that percentage that actually test positive,” said Linden.

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