Conundrums of Legalized Marijuana


Following the trend of Colorado and Washington, recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California (with some caveats). This legalization, as well as the remaining states allowing marijuana for medical use, may now create a real test of sanity in the legal system.

There are a myriad of legal issues to consider due to legalization. The following are just a few questions that will likely have to be considered:

  • Is it lawful to terminate an employee who has tested positive for marijuana?
  • Can an employer refuse to hire someone who tested positive for marijuana?
  • If so, isn’t this regulation of the employee’s off-duty activities?
  • Is the employee then (on their off-duty time) still subject to the control of the employer and thus entitled to overtime?
  • Should marijuana use be treated the same as alcohol use?
  • If someone has a prescription for marijuana must the employer make a reasonable accommodation for the employee under the ADA?
  • Can the employer consider how the impairment affects the employee’s work?
  • Must the employer accept the liability exposure if the employee is in a position to cause injury to others due to the legal impairment (e.g. jobs with heavy machinery)?
  • Can the employer take into account the public’s acceptance of an employee that is “high” who is serving the customer?
  • Can the employer refuse to allow the employee to take his/her medication during work hours?
  • How is driving under the influence measured?
  • What are the risks given that federal law still makes marijuana use a crime? (I find it interesting that the District of Columbia allows recreational use of marijuana even though it is governed by federal law!)

As you can see from this very short list, addressing the legal issues of marijuana use will be exciting to say the least.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2017 at 7:40 pm and is filed under General Legal.