Medical marijuana is being legalized in an increasing number of states, which will have an impact on a variety of employment issues, including workers’ compensation. The Supreme Court appears to be considering providing clarity to employers and employees alike regarding payment for medical marijuana in workers’ compensation claims. Continue Reading Supreme Court considering granting certiorari in workers’ compensation medical marijuana cases
New Jersey just became the fourteenth state to legalize off-duty, recreational marijuana use. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA) into law, which broadly prohibits employers from taking adverse action against individuals for off-duty, recreational marijuana use.
Recent decisions from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and a Rhode Island Superior Court have held that a discharged employee and a rejected applicant, both of whom tested positive for marijuana, may pursue disability discrimination claims under state law. These are among the first decisions issued that address whether employers have a state law obligation to reasonably accommodate the medical marijuana use of their disabled employees and applicants.
Because marijuana use – whether for medicinal or recreational purposes – remains unlawful under federal law, employers have no obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to reasonably accommodate its use by disabled employees or applicants. But what about in states, including Ohio, where medicinal marijuana use is legal under certain circumstances? Is there an obligation to reasonably accommodate marijuana use under state disability discrimination law? Is an employer that takes an adverse action against an applicant or employee who is a medical marijuana user engaging in disability discrimination in violation of state law? It appears that the answer to these questions, at least in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, is yes. For the reasons discussed below, Ohio may be different. Continue Reading Courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island permit medical marijuana users to pursue disability discrimination claims
As we outlined more fully in our earlier post, Ohio’s new medical marijuana law takes effect next month. Employers should be reminded that business groups lobbied for an exception allowing employers with drug-free workplace policies to take adverse action against applicants and employees for medical marijuana use.
A special thanks to one of our summer clerks, Abigail Chin, for her assistance with this article.
In the wake of Ohio’s new medical marijuana law, you may be thinking, what does it mean for your drug-free workplace policy? Ohio’s new medical marijuana law, H.B. 523, provides targeted exceptions for employers.
Ohio’s law goes into effect in approximately 90 days; however, it is expected that full implementation could take up to two years before the Ohio Department of Commerce, State Medical Board and Board of Pharmacy can establish licensing requirements for growers, processors, testing laboratories, dispensaries and physicians. H.B. 523 allows people with the following qualified medical conditions to receive a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana: HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is chronic, severe and intractable, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis. Marijuana is only permitted in certain forms, like edibles and vaporizers; as smoking it is prohibited under the new law. Continue Reading Ohio’s new law legalizing medical marijuana includes key exceptions for employers
Following up on my post on the subject, I had the chance to speak with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN regarding Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Wal-Mart’s firing of an employee for medicinal marijuana use is lawful. In the brief interview I explain the background of the case, why the court arrived at the ruling it did and what lessons it holds for employers.
On March 22, 2020, Dr. Amy Acton, health director for the Ohio Department of Health, signed the “Director’s Stay at Home Order,” calling on all Ohioans to stay at home or at their place of residence unless conducting or participating in essential activities, essential governmental functions, or essential businesses and operations.
The Director’s Order, which will be enforced by local departments of health and local law enforcement, goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020 and remains in effect until 11:59 on April 6, 2020. The Order has a number of key directives for businesses operating in Ohio.