Colorado marijuana firms are topic to federal labor laws in spite of getting illegal, court guidelines


A U.S. appeals court has ruled workers in Colorado’s marijuana business are topic to overtime spend guidelines and other federal labor protections even if the business itself is federally illegal.

The case at problem offers with Robert Kenney, a former employee at Helix TCS, a business that supplies safety and other solutions to marijuana firms in Colorado. In 2017, Kenney sued Helix in U.S. District Court for refusing to spend him overtime when he was consistently worked a lot more than 40 hours a week as a safety guard for Helix’s marijuana business customers, an alleged violation of the U.S. Fair Labor Requirements Act.

Helix’s attorneys moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that a federal court had no jurisdiction to hear the case “because Colorado’s recreational marijuana business is in violation of the Controlled Substances Act,” per case documents. The district court rejected that motion but a panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit was tapped to overview that denial.

On Friday, that panel upheld the reduced court’s ruling.

“The district court appropriately reasoned and case law has repeatedly confirmed that employers are not excused from complying with federal laws just mainly because their enterprise practices are federally prohibited,” Senior Judge Stephanie Seymour wrote.

Seymour went on to cause that denying workers in the marijuana business federal labor protections would give their employers an unfair benefit and encourage other employers to engage in illegal activity to get about regulations.

It is clear Colorado lawmakers currently really feel this way, according to Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Marijuana Sector Group, the state’s most prominent business trade organization. When the legislature passed a new marijuana regulation sunset bill this year, it integrated a provision dictating firms comply with federal labor guidelines, Kelly mentioned.

Even though she can not speak for third-celebration firms like Helix, Kelly mentioned, “Typically what we see is companies are exceeding federal needs.”

The suit will now head back to the district court. Rex Burch, a single of the attorneys representing Robert Kenney in the case, mentioned he’s heard from folks in the marijuana business that the court rulings add legitimacy to what they do.

“They’re not particular and, in my knowledge, most marijuana companies are not seeking to be particular,” Burch mentioned. “They’re operating like when you open up a enterprise that sells something.”


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