Smart Colorado lobbyist Sandra Solin of Capitol Solutions talks with Christian Sederberg, an Amendment 64 proponent, after a news conference last Friday
Smart Colorado lobbyist Sandra Solin of Capitol Solutions talks with Christian Sederberg, an Amendment 64 proponent, after a news conference last Friday outside the Capitol. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

We can see why some supporters of Amendment 64 might suspect the powers that be of conspiring to deny them of their victory.

After all, recent news reports include not only chatter about a possible repeal attempt but also a ruling by the state appeals court that employers can ban off-site, off-hours use of cannabis even by a quadriplegic man who needs it to control muscle spasms.

But both developments need to be kept in perspective.

The rumblings about possible repeal, for example, are being driven mainly by worries that voters this fall might not approve marijuana taxes sufficient to cover related costs. So some lawmakers apparently have toyed with the idea of putting another measure on the ballot repealing Amendment 64 if two tax measures fail to pass.

But this is such a bad idea — and possibly illegal, too — that we'd be shocked if two-thirds of lawmakers bought into it in the short time remaining in the session.

Why illegal? Because as attorney Ed Ramey of the law firm Heizer Paul Grueskin pointed out in a legal analysis for backers of Amendment 64, any repeal question would seemingly have to be put to voters in an even-numbered year — 2014 at the earliest.

Of course, if the taxes do fail this fall — a most unlikely prospect, in our view — then discussion of repeal might actually be justified.

As for the court decision on off-site, off-hours cannabis use, it sets an important precedent but may still be less momentous than some suspect.

By a 2 to 1 majority, the court ruled that Colorado's Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute does not protect employees from being fired for behavior that is legal under state statute but illegal according to federal law.

"While we agree that the general purpose of [the Off-Duty Activities Statute] is to keep an employer's proverbial nose out of an employee's off-site off-hours business ... we can find no legislative intent to extend employment protection to those engaged in activities that violate federal law," the majority said.

We happen to think Judge John Webb, in dissent, makes a pretty persuasive argument that the statute should apply to marijuana use, too. But even if the majority's ruling is correct, those dismayed by it should remember that Amendment 64 itself seems to give employers the green light to bar workers from using pot both on and off the job. And the governor's task force on implementing Amendment 64 reached that same conclusion.

We doubt, however, that most employers — outside of public safety, transportation and construction — really have any desire to dictate off-job behavior or in undertaking a testing regimen to enforce such an edict. They have their hands full managing employees while they're on the job without "sticking their proverbial nose" into their private lives, too.