HR Management Compliance

Employers in Extra States See Altering Marijuana Legal guidelines


The November three election noticed voters in 5 states weighing in on new marijuana measures, and the outcomes imply employers will should be prepared for extra leisure use.

Supply: jirkaejc / iStock / Getty Photographs

Voters in 4 states—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota—voted in favor of measures permitting the leisure use of marijuana.

Medical in Mississippi

Mississippi voters voted to approve a medical marijuana program, however the problem is much from settled. There have been two variations of the measure on the poll, and though one was handed by voters, it might not lead to a medical marijuana program.

“There may be at the moment a authorized problem pending that questions whether or not the measure was even correctly on the poll,” Martin J. Regimbal, an lawyer with The Kullman Firm in Columbus, Mississippi, says. “The governor has come out towards the laws, and even the Trump marketing campaign beforehand issued a cease-and-desist letter demanding these campaigning for the regulation to cease quoting him in assist.”

If the measure survives the authorized problem, it received’t go into impact till July 2021. “As of but, there isn’t a steerage on the way it will affect employers or steerage on a lot else both, apart from it being restricted to medical use by these with debilitating and sure different circumstances,” Regimbal says. The Mississippi Division of Well being is tasked with issuing guidelines and laws.


Proposition 207, the Good and Protected Arizona Act, legalizes possession and use of marijuana for adults 21 and older. It handed with practically 60% voter approval, Jodi R. Bohr, an lawyer with Tiffany & Bosco, P.A. in Phoenix, says.

“Though prolonged, the Act gives little or no steerage to employers,” Bohr says. It states that it doesn’t limit employers from sustaining a drug- and alcohol-free office or proscribing using marijuana by workers, nevertheless it “doesn’t clarify whether or not an employer’s restriction of marijuana use by workers is proscribed to stopping impairment whereas working or on a broader scope that encompasses an worker’s free time,” she says. It’s clear, nonetheless, employers might limit marijuana-related actions within the place of employment, together with workplaces, surrounding areas, and firm autos.

Bohr says employers ought to overview their drug and alcohol testing insurance policies to make sure they adjust to the Arizona drug testing statute and that insurance policies are clear relating to use restrictions by workers.

The Act doesn’t modify an worker’s rights underneath Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), which was handed in 2012, Bohr says. “How an Arizona court docket will interpret the AMMA continues to be very a lot up within the air, and Proposition 207 solely provides to the uncertainty,” she says. “Employers can defend themselves by having complete drug and alcohol insurance policies and implementing coaching on the indicators and signs of impairment.”


Montana residents voted in favor of Initiative 190, which legalizes the possession and use of restricted quantities of marijuana for adults over 21. The measure stipulates that it permits employers to self-discipline workers for violating a office drug coverage or working whereas intoxicated by marijuana.

“We anticipate pretty minimal change to Montana employers and no speedy change to present drug-free office insurance policies,” Jason Ritchie, an lawyer at Ritchie Manning Kautz PLLP in Billings, says.

Ritchie says employers ought to proceed their drug-free office insurance policies and testing procedures, and corporations with out such insurance policies and procedures may take into account including them.

New Jersey

New Jersey residents voted in favor of New Jersey Public Query 1, the Marijuana Legalization Modification. Jennifer Roselle, an lawyer with Genova Burns LLC in Newark, says that if the ultimate measure tracks the 2019 proposal, it is going to embrace a provision that expressly entitles employers to ban leisure use on their property or throughout work hours.

“We already see this prohibition in states with leisure use, and it already exists in New Jersey’s Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Hashish Act,” Roselle says.

“It is a nice time for employers to overview their insurance policies and decide their targets in implementing a drug-free office coverage that doesn’t intrude with the workers’ rights outdoors the office or created by incapacity,” Roselle says.

South Dakota

The South Dakota Constitutional Modification A, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, legalizes leisure use for adults 21 and older. It permits people to own or distribute as much as 1 ounce of marijuana. Additionally on the poll was Initiated Measure 26, which establishes a medical marijuana program.

The leisure use measure is slated to take impact July 1, 2021. Beth A. Roesler, an lawyer with the Goosman Law Firm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, says the modification doesn’t forestall employers from having drug and alcohol insurance policies. The medical marijuana measure stipulates that any qualifying affected person has the identical rights within the office as employees with prescription remedy, she says.

Tammy Binford writes and edits information alerts and e-newsletter articles on labor and employment regulation subjects for BLR net and print publications.

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