DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis moved to protect Colorado workers from marijuana-related workplace penalties in a new executive order issued on Thursday.

Through the measure, Polis orders state regulators to create policies that protect workers from professional discipline or disqualification for any marijuana-related penalty in another state, “so long as the actions are lawful and consistent with professional conduct and standards of care” in Colorado.

“The exclusion of people from the workforce because of marijuana-related activities that are lawful in Colorado, but still criminally penalized in other states, hinders our residents, economy and our state,” the order reads.

Polis’ marijuana directives are similar to an order he recently signed on abortion, stressing that Colorado would not comply with any outside investigations into reproductive caregiving in the state. The marijuana order states the same.

“Colorado will not cooperate with out-of-state investigations related to disciplinary action
against a professional license, certification, or credential for marijuana-related actions that are
lawful in our state,” it reads.

The directives are addressed to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, as well as the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Specialized Business Group and Marijuana Enforcement Division. Both are ordered not to use any resources to help with any professional investigations into legal marijuana activities in the state.

19 states have legalized recreational marijuana

Colorado voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2012, regulating the plant like alcohol. Since then, 19 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have begun regulating adult recreational marijuana. And 37 states, three territories and the District of Columbia have allowed medical marijuana.

Still, the federal government considers cannabis a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted medical use” and “a high potential for abuse.” That keeps it in the same category as drugs like heroin, LSD and MDMA.