Most cannabis-legal states do not shield cannabis-consuming staff from anti-marijuana regulations at their workplace. But a current case involving a substitute teacher in a Colorado charter college begs the query: How can some educational institutions fire staff for legally employing cannabis, though nevertheless taking cannabis market tax income from the state?
The Pot Scientist’s Origin Story
“You assume the drug war is more than right here?” asks Carter Baird, in reference to Colorado. “It’s not.”
Carter Baird, aka The Pot Scientist
Baird is a scientist. He has worked as carbon dioxide extractor, item-infuser, excellent handle engineer and lab technician in Colorado’s legal cannabis market for the previous 5 years.
In college, he double-majored in biochemistry and theater. That instruction also serves him properly in his side gig. Quite a few years ago Baird produced the fictional persona of “The Pot Scientist,” which he started as aspect of his “The Pot Scientist Reports” YouTube Channel.
In his videos, Baird sports a lab coat and waxed moustache though wandering about Denver’s 16th Street Mall. He presents to answer queries about cannabis and talks about a wide variety of cannabis-associated subjects, in the tradition of Bill Nye and other on-air science communicators.
His channel initially gained notice in the Colorado cannabis market for its humorous and truth-filled requires on a wide variety of problems. But the channel never ever took off, so he went back to operate as a lab technician.
Not Aligned with College Ethics
In among lab jobs, Baird also located employment as a substitute teacher at his higher college alma mater, Peak to Peak Charter College in Lafayette, Colorado.
That, regrettably, did not finish properly.
Baird was not too long ago named into a meeting with the school’s head of human sources director, and various other officials.
“They sat me down and they explained that some students had found my YouTube Channel,” he told Leafly. “It brought on some sort of commotion. They definitely didn’t specify what it was, but they mentioned that students have been speaking and they would have to let me go.”
Baird added that college officials told him his YouTube channel did not “align with their ethics policy.”
Cannabis Firing: Legal in Colorado
Carter mentioned he didn’t hide the nature of his preceding employment when applying for his college job. He never ever brought up cannabis in any of his classes, and does not condone the recreational use of cannabis by any underage individual.
Nevertheless, he does comprehend the school’s legal suitable to dismiss him and pointed to the case of Brandon Coats.
In 2015 Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that the Dish Network had the suitable to fire Coats, a quadriplegic man who made use of state-licensed medicinal cannabis to handle painful muscle spasms brought on by his paralysis, immediately after Coats failed the company’s cannabis drug test.
As a person who makes use of healthcare cannabis for his numerous sclerosis, Baird mentioned he gets that Colorado providers can fire staff who use cannabis for what ever cause, even if they consume cannabis “off the clock.”
College Policy and Tax Dollars
What Baird is peeved about is Peak to Peak’s apparently contradictory stance relating to cannabis. The college receives tens of thousands of dollars yearly from Colorado’s State Education Fund.
As the Colorado Division of Education’s web page notes, a percentage of Colorado’s marijuana excise tax “provides an appropriation for Charter College and Institute Charter College Capital Building,” to spend for college building, renovation, upkeep and other problems.
“I heard that as a rumor, initially, that new college building [at Peak to Peak] was funded by pot tax funds,” mentioned Baird. “Turns out it is on the public record. It appears disingenuous to fire me more than ethics when they take the funds that is a outcome of cannabis consumption.”
“Peak to Peak does not comment on matters of employment, hiring, or associated choices,” Jennifer Dauzvardis, the school’s communication manager, mentioned in an e mail response to Leafly.
“The college is partially funded by capital building dollars which are accumulated and distributed by the state. We are grateful to the taxpayers for the further funding,” she mentioned.
A New Mission for The Pot Scientist
On Baird’s YouTube channel, some of his former students have commented and criticized the way he was treated by their college.
“The only issue I definitely heard about you was that you had a YouTube channel named the pot scientist which I believed was amazing,” mentioned a single Peak to Peak senior in the channel’s comment section. (The comment has because been taken down.)
“As a sub you did a much better job than some of the regulars we have right here and I assume it is unfair for you to be fired more than your freedom to use YouTube as a platform to speak about the science behind cannabis (which could be definitely valuable in possessing healthier discussions about marijuana use). You are an adult in a state exactly where marijuana is legal, but we gotta pretend you are not and it is not?????”
Baird mentioned a single of his YouTube commenters also reported that a single student at their college was dabbing marijuana ahead of class, and that there requires to be a “kind of sensible understanding that youngsters will need to comprehend, that they’re hurting their personal education by dabbing suitable ahead of class.”
Amongst other student comments, hashtag campaigns have also been started—#Justiceforthepotscientist and #Walkoutforthepotscientist—though there are no apparent actions getting planned by the students.
The Pot Scientist, Revived
For his aspect, Baird mentioned he does not want his substitute teaching job back, and he’s not in make contact with with the students or the college. But in a single of his most up-to-date videos he says he supports students “flexing what energy they have.”
He also believes his firing has offered The Pot Scientist a new mission. Whilst the original notion was about educating adults about cannabis, he now feels he can assistance fill a void in cannabis education amongst young adults and higher college students.
“The channel has been up for years now and it was type of on its final legs,” he mentioned. “I wasn’t inspired by the content material I didn’t really feel I had a distinct audience in any way. I was about to cancel it—and now I really feel there’s a will need for this understanding.”