Many marijuana users in the United States rejoiced when a number of states legalised medical—and for some, recreational—use of the substance. Employers, however, have to put up with even more complicated issues surrounding the implementation of existing workplace drug policies vis-à-vis the new legal status of marijuana.
In an article written by Matt Dunning for Business Insurance, he quoted experts attending Business Insurance’s 2015 Risk Management Summit in New York as saying that legalising marijuana has left employers facing a big challenge in enforcing workplace anti-drug policies.
Marijuana still illegal for federal government
Making the situation even more complicated is the fact that there is still no accepted use for marijuana for the federal government. According to Paul Millus, of counsel at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein P.C. in New York, this ongoing conflict between the federal government and the states that have legalised marijuana is certainly going to give employers a lot of problems.
This conflict can also give rise to more employment practices liability claims, which are likely to originate from people who were sacked, disciplined, or denied employment because of their marijuana use that breached existing workplace drug policies.
Until there is a consensus between the federal government and the states, the issue of marijuana legalisation in relation to workplace drug policy will remain muddled for some time. In any case, Mr. Millus advises that for the meantime, employers should stick to their guns, get on with drug safety policy development, and implement their valid and non-discriminatory workplace drug policy nevertheless.
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