Court: Pot smokers can be terminated
Medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but employers in the state can lawfully fire workers who test positive for the drug, even if it was used off duty, according to a court ruling Thursday.
The Colorado Court of Appeals found there is no employment protection for medical marijuana users in the state since the drug remains barred by the federal government.
The ruling concurs with court decisions in similar cases elsewhere and comes as businesses attempt to regulate pot use among employees in states where the drug is legal. Colorado and Washington state law both provide for recreational marijuana use. Several other states have legalized medical use. Police departments have been especially concerned since officers are sworn to uphold both state and federal laws.
Action delayed on Internet sales-tax bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says senators have reached a deal to delay voting on a bill to tax Internet sales until after senators return from a weeklong vacation. Reid says the Senate vote on passage of the bill would be May 6.
A handful of senators from states without sales taxes were blocking the bill, which has widespread bipartisan support in the Senate.
The bill would empower states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made online.
Under the bill, the sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.
US applications drop for jobless benefits
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the second-fewest in more than five years. The drop suggests that layoffs have declined and that job growth may pick up from last month’s sluggish pace.
Applications for benefits dropped 16,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average declined 4,500 to 357,500.
Stocks edge higher
The engines driving the stock market were more tepid than turbocharged Thursday, but they were enough to help stocks rise for a fifth straight day.
The three major U.S. stock indexes all closed higher as good news on the job market and healthy earnings from name-brand companies such as Royal Caribbean and Harley-Davidson encouraged investors.
Oil prices increase
Oil rose above $93 a barrel for the first time in two weeks Thursday.
Benchmark oil for June delivery rose $2.21 to close at $93.64 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
At the pump, the average price for a gallon of gas slipped slightly to $3.51 a gallon. That’s down 15 cents from a month ago and is 33 cents cheaper than at this time last year.
Selected local stocks
Aqua America, .70, 31.90 —.22
Clear Channel, .33 32.94 .30
Cortland Bancorp, 10.00.00
Farmers Nat., .126.45 —.14
First Energy, 2.20, 46.29.12
FirstMerit Corp., .64,16.87 .11
First Niles Financial, .32,7.00.00
First Place Fin., .0018.00
FNB Corp., .48,11.32—.06
General Electric, .76,21.96.00
Motors Liquidation, .0422.00
Huntington Bank, .16, 7.11.02
JP Morgan Chase, 1.52,48.96.24
Key Corp, .20,9.84.11
LaFarge, 15.89 .32
Macy’s, .80, 44.79.90
Parker Hannifin, 1.72, 90.561.19
RTI Intl. Metals,28.28—.13
Simon Prop. Grp.,4.60,176.12—.72
Stoneridge 7.38 .18
United Community Fin. 4.29.00
Selected prices at 4 p.m. Thursday. Provided by Stifel Nicolaus. Not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security.