Recreational use doesn't mean you can come to work high.
Recreational use doesn’t mean you can come to work high.

On Nov. 8, 2016, voters in eight states voted to legalize some form marijuana use, including medical uses in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota, and recreational uses in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California. This brings up an interesting question on marijuana use and the workplace.

Impact on Employers

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and distributing marijuana is a federal offense. The Obama administration has adopted a relaxed enforcement policy regarding marijuana use. It is unclear whether the Trump administration will adopt a more stringent enforcement policy.

Employers can still ban marijuana, along with alcohol and other drugs, from the workplace. Employers may want to review their drug policies to clarify that any use of marijuana is prohibited, regardless of recreational or medical use, but may need to ensure they are not in violation of any state nondiscrimination laws.

If you don’t have a drug policy, we can give you a free employee handbook that includes every policy you need to be compliant. Email [email protected] for your free handbook.

Medicinal Use

Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota join another 28 states that currently authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and distributing marijuana is a federal offense.

In California

According to the law, employers still have the right to maintain an alcohol- and drug- free workplace, which includes drug testing new or current employees. Even medical uses of marijuana, which have been legal in California since 1996, aren’t exempt from employer drug test policies.

A good practice, according to employment lawers who spoke to the LA Times recently, is to update your employer drug policy to make clear that recreational use of marijuana will still be screened for.

Another option for employers who might be more lienent on drug use might be an imparment policy. This policy could state that if an employee is impaired in any way — due to sicness, drugs, lack of sleep or medications — are encouraged to go home for the day.

Having clear policies for any sized employer is critical now more than ever. To request your free employee handbook, fill out the form below.

With marijuana legalized in California, what are your rights as an employer?