Marijuana in the Workplace Balancing Competing Obligations

Although many states have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, the drug still remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. The Cole Memo of 2013 stated that a few key marijuana enforcement priorities were particularly important to the federal government, such as preventing distribution to minors and revenue from marijuana sales going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels. The United States Department of Justice was committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats, but this hands-off approach was rescinded in January 2018 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It is more important that employers know and understand their state laws regarding marijuana and implement practical considerations for testing and discipline.

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