According to recent polls conducted by Gallup and the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans (61%) support legalization of cannabis for either medicinal or recreational purposes.
This was evident on Election Day 2018, when voters in three states approved new marijuana laws. Voters approved medical marijuana laws in Missouri and Utah, while Michigan voters approved a recreational marijuana law.
With growing acceptance of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States, employers should expect continued activity regulating employer and employee rights in this area.
Employers should also consider how this can align with existing drug-testing policies and how to best deal with employees who test positive for a legal drug. Colorado has already had such discussions in the courts, with the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that employers may lawfully terminate employees that fail drug tests due to marijuana usage, even if the drug is only used outside of working hours.
And Alaska has also had a similar conversation: “Alcohol is legal, but I imagine most jobs, if you show up drunk, you’re getting fired or disciplined,” said Jason Brandeis of the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Justice Center.
Despite the precedents set by Colorado and Alaska, among others, each state will approach the issue with unique rulings and employers should be aware of their state’s current stance on marijuana legalization and how things may change in the foreseeable future.
If you have any questions about how the legalization of marijuana in your state may affect you, our team will be happy to help.
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