A Tale of Two States: How Medical Marijuana Laws Affect the Workplace
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A Tale of Two States: How Medical Marijuana Laws Affect the Workplace

By judgemaryc3242561, Oct 28 2016 01:57AM

As of October, 2016 there were 25 states plus D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico who have medical marijuana laws on the books with several more states poised to join them in 2017.. Ohio, along with Pennsylvania was one of two new medical marijuana states in 2016. Ohio’s medical marijuana law came about with a twist. It was an initiative that was in midst of collecting signatures when it was halted and supplanted by the passage of a medical marijuana law passed by the state legislature.

Like some other states, the new Ohio law addresses how the use of medical marijuana, albeit legal, is not acceptable in the workplace. It resolves most employment issues in favor of the employer. It states that an employer is not required to accommodate medical marijuana users and may refuse to hire, may terminate employment, discipline, and create and enforce drug testing policies of their choice. Employers also have “just cause,” for purposes of unemployment and workers compensation. The employee is not entitled to receive workers’ compensation if the employee was under the influence of marijuana at the time of injury and the use of marijuana was the proximate cause of that injury.

The Connecticut medical marijuana law which went into effect in 2012 was also passed by their state legislature. In stark contrast, the Connecticut medical marijuana law protects employees in the workplace no employer may refuse to hire a person or may discharge, penalize or threaten an employee solely on the basis of such person’s or employee’s status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver. The only favorable position for the employer is that “ nothing… shall restrict an employer’s ability to prohibit the use of intoxicating substances during work hours or restrict an employer’s ability to discipline an employee for being under the influence of intoxicating substances during work hours.”

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