4 Things Employers Should Know About Evolving Medical Marijuana Laws
When drafting your drug-free workplace policy, be sure to consider the changing landscape of medical marijuana laws. State statutes and case law are subject to change, so consult with legal counsel to make sure your policies are compliant. Also, be prepared to accommodate requests for reasonable accommodations. In addition to drafting a drug-free workplace policy, employers should consider drug-free workplace pre-employment testing, which is becoming increasingly common in many workplaces.
State statutes and case law are subject to change
The authors of this article use data from the National Conference of State Legislatures’ “State Medical Marijuana Laws” to compile this information. Their date is different from that of the ballot initiative and legislative passage. They also used an independent review to identify states that have decriminalized marijuana. While the information presented here is accurate as of the time of writing, state laws are subject to change.
The first laws governing medical cannabis were broad and lacked comprehensive regulatory guidance. Later laws prioritized product safety and legal supply chains. Since the legalization of marijuana in states, the vast majority of participants are in nonmedicalized programs that do not follow principles of pharmaceutical regulation or evidence-based medicine. This disconnect between state and federal law is a major concern for policy makers. In the meantime, the legalization of cannabis is a stepping stone toward a thriving cannabis industry.
In 2017, Arizona voters passed Initiative 203, which authorizes medical marijuana use. In 2009, Congress blocked the initiative but reversed that decision in 2010. In 2010, the D.C. Council put the legislation on hold but later approved modifications. The process of implementing the law in the state will take years, but it will ultimately be worth it in the long run. The implementation of the laws will depend on what the legislature approves.
Work with legal counsel to draft drug-free workplace policies
Employers that wish to foster a drug-free workplace must make the policy clear to both employees and applicants. It should state the company’s policies on marijuana and other substances and state the procedure for testing. It should also state the ramifications of noncompliance. A well-drafted policy will achieve a good balance between these extremes. Weigh the pros and cons and work with legal counsel to draft drug-free workplace policies.
First, employers should consider the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, and sex. The act also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who takes 12 weeks off work for drug treatment. It is important to note that employers may not fire or demote employees for taking care of an addicted family member. In addition, employers should consider the requirements of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a law passed in 1935 that provides a legal framework for management and labor negotiations.
A substance abuse policy should be tailored to meet the needs of your employees. While it is not necessary to write the policy from scratch, it is important to consider key topics such as the prevention of drug use and its effects on productivity. If you don’t have enough time to draft an in-depth policy, you can always borrow information from other drug-free workplace policies and adapt them to fit your organization’s needs.
Most private employers are not required to adopt drug-free workplace policies, but federal contractors and grantees are required to do so. Similarly, employers in security and safety-sensitive industries must adhere to these laws. Federal statutes on drug-free workplace policies fall into two main categories. The first type targets workplace substance use and compels certain employers to take action. In other words, these laws require drug-free workplace policies to be adopted by their employees.
Consult with legal counsel when confronted with a request for an accommodation to use marijuana
When confronted with a request for an employee accommodation to use medical marijuana, be sure to ask for reasonable information. An employer must confirm that the employee has a disability that requires use of medical cannabis and that this disability results in functional restrictions. The employer may obtain this information from a medical professional or request it directly from the employee. In either case, the employer must document the steps it takes to come to the determination that an accommodation would be an undue hardship.
It is vital to remember that the law governing cannabis may change frequently and there is no set timetable for enactment. If the employer is not sure of the specific requirements for providing accommodation, it is best to seek legal counsel. The process is similar to that used for other drugs. However, employers should be careful not to allow employees to smoke medical marijuana in the workplace. This can lead to problems, including a lawsuit.
Landlords must take into account the effect of the cannabis use on the structure of their property. If marijuana is present in a common area, the landlord may find themselves in a bind as to whether to allow it. While this may not pose a legal problem, it can raise concerns about discrimination and liability issues. Furthermore, landlords should consider the potential impact of marijuana-related preparation activities on the structure of the building.
An employee who has been certified as a medical marijuana user may claim discrimination if an employer refuses to accommodate their usage. An employee who is certified as a medical marijuana user almost certainly has an underlying medical condition that qualifies for an accommodation under the ADA. Employers must abide by federal laws governing marijuana, and the MMA does not allow employers to violate these federal laws.
In many cases, a court has ruled that an employer must consider whether a request for an accommodation to use medical cannabis is reasonable. The employee’s doctor must have determined that the medical marijuana is the most effective treatment for her condition. The employer must make sure that the alternative medication would not be as effective as the cannabis treatment. In many instances, a positive drug test could lead to a negative impact on the employee’s ability to work.
Employers may not be required to accommodate medical marijuana users in the workplace. Although the MMA prohibits discrimination based on medical marijuana certification, it does not protect employers from discrimination based on actual use of medical marijuana. Employers may discipline an employee for using medical marijuana at work if it results in a workplace impairment. Moreover, this could be a valid reason for dismissal or termination.