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Most States do not Require Employers to Accommodate use of Medicinal Marijuana

As of May 2016, 25 states plus the District of Columbia allow the medicinal use of marijuana by patients suffering from certain debilitating medical conditions. With perhaps 70-80% of marijuana patients between the ages of 18 and 60, there may be upwards of one million users in the workforce. As recently enacted state laws come online and new states join, workforce numbers are expected to increase. Employers across the country, therefore, face the emerging issue of how they are allowed to manage the medicinal use of marijuana by their employees. One increasingly common question employers face is whether they can fire an employee, or rescind a prospective employee’s job offer, for failing a drug test caused by ingestion of marijuana away from work premises, or must they refrain from acting on the test and thereby accommodate the use? In most states, statutory language and court decisions do not require employers to accommodate. However, seven states impose more restrictions on employers, and at least four other states are considering changes to make their laws more employee-friendly.

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