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Cannabis in the Workplace

One of the biggest stigmas in this country right now is Cannabis use. While federally it has not been decriminalized as many as 37 states, 3 US territories, and even D.C have legalized the substance to a certain degree. We know that while it has been legalized it has been for either medical purposes or even recreational purposes in some cases. But how does that carry over into everyday life without conflict? Even if you partake in marijuana legally when it comes to your workplace your company may have other policies which you as an employee must adhere to. It is important to remember that as the rules change from state to state. So do the edicts you may have to follow regarding employment. 

Many who use cannabis still must follow the laws and regulations for the workplace.

Just because a state might have legalized the substance does not mean that a person has free reign in which they use it. Cannabis use when it pertains to employment regulations changes from state to state. In some cases, the employers need to clarify whether they follow state or federal mandates.

Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 substance meaning it is illegal federally.

Some states that legalized cannabis earlier have few or no protection rights for cannabis users because of the federal stance on the substance. Some states, such as New York and New Jersey, protect both recreational and medical users. The safest way to navigate for users would be to stay in touch with the ever-changing rules.

If using, do not do so during working hours and do not do so on the premises at work. This is just for liability reasons and is common sense. Especially with jobs that may have you operating machinery or being responsible for assets. Cannabis is still a mind-altering substance. When it comes to cannabis policies as an employee, it is about adhering to the rules and following them as best as a person can.

For the employer deciding these policies becomes the challenge.

One of the biggest issues for employers who must deal with cannabis policy is being fair but also responsible to the job. For instance, even if cannabis has been legalized, some jobs require regular drug tests such as those who work for the Department of Transportation. Other employers can choose to take a different approach and modify drug tests only including cannabis in post-accident situations since it is psychoactive. This protects the employer from being liable and shows the responsibility of the employee and the adherence to a fair workplace.

Some private companies have even opted towards removing cannabis from pre-employment screening during the labor shortage. Overall, it is particularly important that employers decide on their policies and communicate with their employees on what they expect when it comes to cannabis use. One of the best ways to do this is when deciding on policy making is to be sure to be vetted by legal counsel as laws change from state to state.

When it comes to cannabis in the workplace there are many things to consider.

There is no right or wrong answer since it is a grey area matter. The difference between state and federal laws against the substance make it important that there be clear and concise policies when pertaining to cannabis use when it comes to employees and employers. Making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to cannabis helps. For more information on workplace policies and updated news on new statutes on cannabis you can check your local, state, and federal laws or visit sites such as https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/marijuana-laws-and-the-2022-workplace.aspx.

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