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Seattle Times coverage of pot policy, culture and lifestyle.

July 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Was Mike Boyer really fired for buying weed in Spokane?

Mark Boyer becoming the first man in Spokane to purchase pot from a retail shop. (Photo by Dan Pelle, The Spokesman-Review / Associated Press)

Mike Boyer becoming the first man in Spokane to purchase pot from a retail shop. (Photo by Dan Pelle, The Spokesman-Review / Associated Press)

Michael Boyer earned marijuana martyr status this week after telling reporters that being the first person to buy weed from a retailer in Spokane cost him two part-time jobs. His story has since gone viral, with write-ups in USA Today, High Times, Gawker, Buzzfeed and many more.

But was he actually fired for buying grass on his day off?

According to Boyer: Absolutely.

In an interview Thursday, he said employers Kodiak Security Services and TrueBlue Labor Ready contacted him after he appeared in the news buying pot, and both asked him to take a drug test.
He took the test for Kodiak, he said, and was told he’d be fired if he failed, which was, by his assessment, a certainty. He declined to take the test for TrueBlue, and the company terminated his employment, he said.

“I don’t regret it,” he said. “Jobs come and go, but being the first guy is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.”

But both employers dispute parts of Boyer’s story.

“He was never terminated,” said Kym Ramey, human resources manager for Kodiak. “We never asked him to do a drug test.”

Asked why Boyer would say otherwise, Ramey was at a loss. “I really wish he would stop,” she said.

Stacey Burke, spokeswoman for TrueBlue, said she was still trying to piece together exactly what happened with Boyer. The company did ask Boyer to take a drug test, she said, but she didn’t know what prompted that request.

She said there is no policy against employees buying pot legally as long as they’re not under the influence at work, so she couldn’t figure out why Boyer would have been fired.

“We wouldn’t terminate an employee for purchasing pot,” she said. “The purchase of pot is legal.”

So … what actually happened?

Reached a second time Thursday, Boyer stood by his story. He said Kodiak even made him turn in his radios and lockbox.

He suggested the companies were likely backtracking in fear he was preparing for a lawsuit (which he says he is not).

“I’m assuming they’re in damage-control mode,” he said.

Boyer also said TrueBlue offered him his job back Thursday morning — complete with pay for the day he missed. Burke couldn’t confirm or deny the claim.

After his alleged firing, Boyer posted his resume to Craigslist under the header, “LOST MY JOB! still #1 tho!!.” He’s since been contacted about several prospective employers, he said, everything from public relations to marketing and general labor. He’s hoping the publicity will help him land a job in the pot retail industry.

“Since I’ve been thrown in the spotlight I think I’d make a good employee with one of these operations,” he said. “I think I’d be a good budtender.”

Comments | Topics: marijuana, Michael Boyer, Spokane

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