Woman loses long-time job over business venture related to pot

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DENVER -- We introduced you to Amy Dannemiller, also known as Jane West, and her concept for paring marijuana with catered gourmet food just a few months ago.

“It’s a munchies-for-foodies type of thing; a high-end event to cater to a different, cultivated clientele of cannabis users,” West said in January.

Dannemiller cultivated her Jane West alter ego in an effort to venture into the tenuous marijuana business. Those efforts had repercussions.

After West, the name she's now going by, was featured in a national documentary at one of her underground bring-your-own marijuana events at a Denver art gallery, she was fired from her day job at a still-unnamed national corporation, for being seen inhaling. Interestingly enough, she’s not exactly up in arms about losing a managerial job she held for eight years.

"I violated the policy and they have every right to make their own decisions,” West said.

Labor law expert Whitney Traylor says Colorado is becoming a testing ground for private-employee-pot-use cases such as West's, pending a Supreme Court ruling, which isn't expected to come anytime soon.

“The reason why this is becoming such a publicized issue is because it's just so new,” Traylor said. “There will have to be certain cases that come before the courts. Once we get some decisions, then employees and employers alike will have some direction.”

West is eagerly anticipating that day.

“I do hope that this starts a dialogue, and that someday responsible consumption of cannabis by adults is something that someone won't get fired for,” West said.

In the meantime, West plans to continue scheduling series of events like the one that got her fired – for both local clients and for marijuana travel groups booking trips to Colorado.

“There are a lot of exciting things happening in this industry right now in Denver,” West said. “I'm going to do my best to make this into a new opportunity.”

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