Marijuana that possess a medical card. Additional questions that

Marijuana
in the Workplace

Whether medicinal or recreational, the regulations for
marijuana in our country are constantly shifting. Eight states have currently
legalized marijuana within certain parameters. The topic of cannabis use in the
workplace and how the employer will monitor the sobriety of their employees
will remain a relevant issue for many years to come since it is such a divided matter
amongst individuals and state legislators.

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Of the states that have passed the recreational
marijuana law, none of them require the employer to tolerate the use of this
drug on the job. The question is how can employers prepare for legalization in
their own state if this cultural epidemic of recreational drug use continues to
spread? If your state has legalized it, then you have to provide policies that
stipulate a difference between how your organization will handle medicinal use
with an ID card versus recreational. This delves into what accommodations will
be provided by the organization for employees that possess a medical card. Additional
questions that can arise when facing this new legal territory are how will drug
tests be treated, and are employers expected to forgive weekend drug use while
not on the job? Organizations have to decide which jobs are permitted to use
medicinal or recreational marijuana, such as school teachers, medical staff, or
truck drivers as stated in Marijuana in
the Workplace: A Hazy Issue for Employers.

The eight states and Washington D.C. have placed
restrictions by banning its use in public for example or administering
limitations on how much can be grown at home. They also can specify where and
how much of this stimulant can be purchased. This is a complicated issue that
has evolved through the years. There are different levels of accepting marijuana
into people’s daily lives. Many states have decriminalized medical marijuana,
while other require accommodations for registered medicinal patients. Continuing
the complexity, some states have passed laws that legalize the sale, possession
and distribution. While each state appears to be taking their varying stances on
this topic, marijuana is still deemed illegal under federal law. This can be perplexing
and hazy for many individuals in human resources because they are dealing with
state versus government while trying to protect the organization legally and
treat the employees fairly.

Since HR practitioners cannot always anticipate laws
that will change their practices, the best way to ensure organizational success
is to have a prior stance on an issue rather than being reactionary in our ever
changing political and cultural climate. If this law advances to a new state,
the HR practitioner should use the same philosophy as recreation alcohol and
apply it to recreational marijuana. Considering maintaining drug-free workplace
policies is a general premise that alleviates some of the stress from
practitioner. However, the disparity between alcohol and marijuana is that
alcohol is legal while the latter remains illicit under federal law.

When discussing medicinal marijuana use, this argument
comes with two sides. Primarily, from the stance of the employee, they might have
been diagnosed with a terminal or debilitating illness. If this substance is permitted
by state law and their doctor prescribes it to them, some are forced to choose
between gainful employment and pain relief. This is just one example that
happened to Joseph Casias in Casias v. Wal-Mart. This circumstances in this
case took place in Michigan under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008. Joseph
Casias had an inoperable brain tumor and cancer. He received minimal pain relief
until his oncologist recommended marijuana to better manage his suffering. He
claimed to comply with all the state laws and never to have come to work under
the influence of the drug. Even though he had the proper medical ID card for
the cannabis, Wal-Mart soon fired him once they discovered he was a medical
marijuana patient. The other side of this issue, is that employers do not have
to consent to their staff’s insobriety.  Corporations
have to protect themselves from incidences, damages and injuries that can occur
while their employees are taking this drug. If accommodations are required in
the state, the employer needs to analyze what the job requirements are before
taking any action. Competing regulations and job demands are a factor in considering
allowing the employee’s use of marijuana. Practitioners should familiarize
themselves with the relevant statutes in their state and if accommodations are
required. Zero-tolerance drug test policies may need voluntary accommodations
within some organizations for medical marijuana patients.

For recreational use, it really depends on if the
state expresses protections for the organization or if they are silent on
leisure substance use in the workplace. The best way for human resource
practitioners to respond to this new legal territory is by clearly
communicating and establishing policies that forbid controlled substances in
the workplace. With this notion, employers can legally terminate individuals
for recreational use under federal law. Drug use on the job can have a
significant impact on productivity and safety. 
All the different forms of cannabis have made impairment testing on the
job quite challenging.

If your state has legalized possession and medical marijuana,
the HR practitioner needs to seek counsel from an attorney to design a clear
and pervasive policy. Practitioners should specify penalties and procedures,
define “marijuana,” “under the influence,” “medical marijuana,” and “recreational
use.” The policy should allow employees to self-disclose if they want accommodations
under the ADA and protect those who do from discrimination. There needs to be an
agreement that allows testing that distinguishes marijuana from other types of
drugs. It would be in the best interest of the company to educate employees
about the issues and effects of cannabis while offering resources for drug
abuse treatment. The policy should be consistent in application and included in
new hire’s training and orientations.Marijuana
in the Workplace

Whether medicinal or recreational, the regulations for
marijuana in our country are constantly shifting. Eight states have currently
legalized marijuana within certain parameters. The topic of cannabis use in the
workplace and how the employer will monitor the sobriety of their employees
will remain a relevant issue for many years to come since it is such a divided matter
amongst individuals and state legislators.

Of the states that have passed the recreational
marijuana law, none of them require the employer to tolerate the use of this
drug on the job. The question is how can employers prepare for legalization in
their own state if this cultural epidemic of recreational drug use continues to
spread? If your state has legalized it, then you have to provide policies that
stipulate a difference between how your organization will handle medicinal use
with an ID card versus recreational. This delves into what accommodations will
be provided by the organization for employees that possess a medical card. Additional
questions that can arise when facing this new legal territory are how will drug
tests be treated, and are employers expected to forgive weekend drug use while
not on the job? Organizations have to decide which jobs are permitted to use
medicinal or recreational marijuana, such as school teachers, medical staff, or
truck drivers as stated in Marijuana in
the Workplace: A Hazy Issue for Employers.

The eight states and Washington D.C. have placed
restrictions by banning its use in public for example or administering
limitations on how much can be grown at home. They also can specify where and
how much of this stimulant can be purchased. This is a complicated issue that
has evolved through the years. There are different levels of accepting marijuana
into people’s daily lives. Many states have decriminalized medical marijuana,
while other require accommodations for registered medicinal patients. Continuing
the complexity, some states have passed laws that legalize the sale, possession
and distribution. While each state appears to be taking their varying stances on
this topic, marijuana is still deemed illegal under federal law. This can be perplexing
and hazy for many individuals in human resources because they are dealing with
state versus government while trying to protect the organization legally and
treat the employees fairly.

Since HR practitioners cannot always anticipate laws
that will change their practices, the best way to ensure organizational success
is to have a prior stance on an issue rather than being reactionary in our ever
changing political and cultural climate. If this law advances to a new state,
the HR practitioner should use the same philosophy as recreation alcohol and
apply it to recreational marijuana. Considering maintaining drug-free workplace
policies is a general premise that alleviates some of the stress from
practitioner. However, the disparity between alcohol and marijuana is that
alcohol is legal while the latter remains illicit under federal law.

When discussing medicinal marijuana use, this argument
comes with two sides. Primarily, from the stance of the employee, they might have
been diagnosed with a terminal or debilitating illness. If this substance is permitted
by state law and their doctor prescribes it to them, some are forced to choose
between gainful employment and pain relief. This is just one example that
happened to Joseph Casias in Casias v. Wal-Mart. This circumstances in this
case took place in Michigan under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008. Joseph
Casias had an inoperable brain tumor and cancer. He received minimal pain relief
until his oncologist recommended marijuana to better manage his suffering. He
claimed to comply with all the state laws and never to have come to work under
the influence of the drug. Even though he had the proper medical ID card for
the cannabis, Wal-Mart soon fired him once they discovered he was a medical
marijuana patient. The other side of this issue, is that employers do not have
to consent to their staff’s insobriety.  Corporations
have to protect themselves from incidences, damages and injuries that can occur
while their employees are taking this drug. If accommodations are required in
the state, the employer needs to analyze what the job requirements are before
taking any action. Competing regulations and job demands are a factor in considering
allowing the employee’s use of marijuana. Practitioners should familiarize
themselves with the relevant statutes in their state and if accommodations are
required. Zero-tolerance drug test policies may need voluntary accommodations
within some organizations for medical marijuana patients.

For recreational use, it really depends on if the
state expresses protections for the organization or if they are silent on
leisure substance use in the workplace. The best way for human resource
practitioners to respond to this new legal territory is by clearly
communicating and establishing policies that forbid controlled substances in
the workplace. With this notion, employers can legally terminate individuals
for recreational use under federal law. Drug use on the job can have a
significant impact on productivity and safety. 
All the different forms of cannabis have made impairment testing on the
job quite challenging.

If your state has legalized possession and medical marijuana,
the HR practitioner needs to seek counsel from an attorney to design a clear
and pervasive policy. Practitioners should specify penalties and procedures,
define “marijuana,” “under the influence,” “medical marijuana,” and “recreational
use.” The policy should allow employees to self-disclose if they want accommodations
under the ADA and protect those who do from discrimination. There needs to be an
agreement that allows testing that distinguishes marijuana from other types of
drugs. It would be in the best interest of the company to educate employees
about the issues and effects of cannabis while offering resources for drug
abuse treatment. The policy should be consistent in application and included in
new hire’s training and orientations.