Pennsylvania’s New Medical Marijuana Act Implicates Employer Drug Policies

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act (Act), effective May 17, 2016, makes the use, possession and distribution of marijuana lawful in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, provided the individual using, possessing and/or distributing the marijuana is authorized by the Act to do so and acts in compliance with the Act. The Act provides that “no employer may discharge, threaten, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use medical marijuana.” As a result of this new law, Pennsylvania employers should review their policies regarding off-duty conduct and drug use, possession and distribution. Employers are encouraged to consult with an attorney before issuing discipline based on actual or suspected marijuana use and to understand how the Act may impact their particular business or facility.

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