MARIJUANA ARTICLE INDEX FOR 2019 FROM THE BACKGROUND BUZZ (59)
JANUARY I NATIONAL: According to Quest Diagnostics, positive marijuana tests have increased in the general workforce, especially in those states that have legalized the drug.
JANUARY I DELAWARE: An employee at Kraft Heinz sued the company for violations of the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act after he was terminated following a positive test for the substance.
JANUARY I NEW JERSEY: A New Jersey court held that employers are not required to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
JANUARY I CONNECTICUT: A Connecticut court rejected an employer’s argument that the federal Drug Free Workplace Act required it to rescind job offers following a positive test result for marijuana.
FEBRUARY I CONNECTICUT: An aspiring firefighter in Connecticut was denied employment when he disclosed his use of marijuana under a medical marijuana card.
FEBRUARY I NEW JERSEY: An agreement has been reached in New Jersey that will legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adult recreational use.
FEBRUARY I MICHIGAN: A Michigan court reinforced that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not provide a cause of action against a public employer for enforcing its zero-tolerance drug policy.
FEBRUARY I DELAWARE: A Kraft Heinz employee has been permitted to move forward with discrimination claims arising out of Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Act.
FEBRUARY I ARIZONA: The court in Whitmire v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., held that medical marijuana card holders can sue their employers under Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act.
FEBRUARY I NATIONAL: Although it remains an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act, federal prosecutors may decide how and whether to prosecute marijuana-related crimes.
MARCH I KENTUCKY: A House Bill that would legalize medical marijuana has won initial committee approval in the state of Kentucky.
MARCH I MAINE: A new recreational marijuana law in Maine prohibits employers from rejecting job applicants or firing employees because of a positive test for the drug.
MARCH I NATIONAL: According to Any Lab Test Now, education and information are the key to complying with state marijuana laws for both medical use and recreational means.
MARCH I FLORIDA: A circuit court judge in Florida ruled that the state’s legislature ban on smoked medical marijuana conflicts with the intent of the constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana.
MARCH I ARIZONA: The federal court in Arizona has discovered that implied rights exist for medical marijuana users to sue employers, finding that test results alone aren’t enough to prove impairment.
MARCH I MICHIGAN: It has been determined that an employer does not violate the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act when it rescinds a conditional offer of employment based on a positive drug test.
MARCH I MICHIGAN: Marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in Michigan, but employers can still prohibit the possession, distribution, manufacture and/or consumption of the drug at work.
MARCH I OHIO: Ohio law provides several employer-friendly provisions and they will not likely be adversely impacted by the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
APRIL I NATIONAL: Marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law and, while the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t require its accommodation outside of work, some states offer protections.
APRIL I NEW MEXICO: Legislation has been signed in New Mexico that will reduce penalties for marijuana from a criminal to a civil violation.
APRIL I OKLAHOMA: Oklahoma’s “Unity Bill” clarifies certain regulatory aspects of the state’s medical marijuana law and includes provisions that will be helpful to employers in the state.
APRIL I HAWAII: An applicant’s disability discrimination claim in Hawaii was not dismissed by the court because it could not be proven that marijuana had been used at the time of the interview.
APRIL I NATIONAL: Across the country, states are considering how state laws and federal and state occupational safety and health regulations affect employees in safety sensitive positions.
APRIL I NEW JERSEY: A lawsuit has been reopened in which the plaintiff claims he was unlawfully discriminated against for using medical marijuana as part of his cancer treatment as part of New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA).
APRIL I NATIONAL: While marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, states across the country have taken measures to ensure employees are protected from federal law.
APRIL I NEW JERSEY: New Jersey’s Appellate Division has found that an employee may be able to state a disability discrimination claim against an employer who takes an adverse employment action due to the employee’s use of medical marijuana.
MAY I ILLINOIS: The Illinois House has approved a bill that would legalize recreational use of marijuana.
MAY I NEWFOUNDLAND/LABRADOR: Employers with employees prescribed to use medical cannabis will look to a recent decision in which the Court found that the possibility of impairment met the threshold of undue hardship.
MAY I NATIONAL: Although positive drug tests have reached a 14-year high, with marijuana in the lead, research suggests that drug tests are unlikely to reduce future substance abuse.
MAY I NEW YORK CITY/NEW MEXICO: Although unique in their wording and specifics, New York City and New Mexico laws aim to protect employees who are medical marijuana users.
JUNE I ARIZONA: The Arizona Supreme Court reversed a trial court’s ruling in a marijuana possession case reasoning that the state’s Medical Marijuana Act only limits the amount of marijuana, not the type.
JUNE I ILLINOIS: Illinois’ new cannabis law restricts employers from declining to hire or discharge applicants or employees who test positive for cannabis use.
JUNE I ILLINOIS: The Illinois Senate and House voted to legalize cannabis for adult use and permit medical patients to cultivate up to five cannabis plants per household.
JUNE I OKLAHOMA: House Bill 2612 adds new sections to Oklahoma’s existing medical marijuana regulations, as well as makes small but significant amendments to workplace drug testing laws.
JUNE I ILLINOIS: The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act provides expansive workplace protections to marijuana users and requires employers to relax zero-tolerance marijuana policies.
JUNE I NATIONAL: Federal regulations may prohibit marijuana use in states where it has been legalized, especially in positions involving federal money, federal contractors, and safety sensitive positions.
JUNE I MICHIGAN: The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of a case involving the rejection of a job applicant who tested positive for marihuana.
JULY I NEW JERSEY: An appellate court in New Jersey noted that medical cannabis users may be able to bring suit against an employer for disability discrimination under the state’s Law Against Discrimination.
JULY I NATIONAL: A recent Paychex survey revealed that 34 percent of the 500 employers polled said they’re not ready to manage medicinal use of cannabis in the workplace.
JULY I OKLAHOMA: The governor of Okhahoma signed the Unity Bill, permitting employers to discipline employees in safety-sensitive positions, or refuse to hire applicants for such positions if they test positive for marijuana.
JULY I NEW JERSEY: A bill has been signed in New Jersey that adds an express anti-discrimination clause to the state’s Medical Cannabis Act.
JULY I IOWA: Employers in the state of Iowa could face disability discrimination claims for asking a job applicant if they have a Medical Cannabidiol registration card or testing and taking action against them.
AUGUST I NATIONAL: Although employers across the nation have relaxed their drug screening policies, it is still within their rights to fire an employee for being impaired by marijuana while at work.
AUGUST I ILLINOIS: Employers in Illinois should update their drug testing policies in response to the legalization to purchase and consume cannabis, but can still discipline or terminate for impairment.
SEPTEMBER I TEXAS: The 2015 Compassionate Use Program now includes multiple sclerosis, other seizure disorders, autism, cancer and other incurable neurodegenerative diseases.
SEPTEMBER I NATIONAL: Possession or use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but HR professionals must keep up with changing state laws regarding its use both medically and recreationally.
OCTOBER I CANADA: The sale and use of edible cannabis is legal in Canada, but it is important for employers to craft impairment tests and policies that reflect an understanding of cannabis’ effects.
OCTOBER I ARIZONA: Although exceptions apply, Arizona voters approved a law that prohibits an employer from refusing to hire or terminate an employee because they have a medical marijuana card.
OCTOBER I NATIONAL: The Farm Bill legalized hemp, but standard drug tests can’t tell the difference between it and illegal substance THC, resulting in faulty testing.
OCTOBER I NATIONAL: The National Safety Council has concluded that there is no level of cannabis use that is safe or acceptable for employees in safety-sensitive positions.
NOVEMBER I NEW JERSEY: A New Jersey man has sued Amazon, claiming he was fired from his job for a positive marijuana test, despite having a valid medical marijuana card.
NOVEMBER I NATIONAL: Breathalyzer tests are being designed that could show if a person used marijuana within the two to three hours before.
NOVEMBER I ILLINOIS: In January 2020, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act would legalize adult-use retail marijuana, prohibiting employers from firing employees for off-duty use.
NOVEMBER I NATIONAL: Research revealed that pure CBD did not produce a positive result on a standard urine drug test for cannabis, but some tested positive after inhaling CBD-dominant vapor.
NOVEMBER I PENNSYLVANIA: A case filed in Pennsylvania is a very clean test case for the practicalities of enforcing an employee’s rights under Section 2103 of the state’s Medical Marijuana Act.
NOVEMBER I NATIONAL: The Tenth Circuit determines that employers are not excused from complying with federal laws regarding cannabis simply because they are violating federal law in other respects.
NOVEMBER I OKLAHOMA: The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled that a post-accident drug test confirming an employee’s use of marijuana does not prove intoxication in the workplace.
DECEMBER I ILLINOIS: Marijuana will be legalized for recreational use in Illinois and employers should consider drafting or revising drug-testing and drug-free workplace policies.
DECEMBER I ILLINOIS: The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has proposed revisions to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to clarify permissible drug testing and to limit possible causes of action against employers.