Legalization of Medical and Recreational Marijuana Usage: Updates for Mastering Emerging Compliance Obligations

According to a recent Gallup poll, more people are using marijuana these days. The survey reveals that 43 percent of adults nationwide have tried cannabis. Thirteen percent of respondents said they currently use it, and more than half of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana. Also, a recently released Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ reveals that drug use among American workers has reached the highest level in 12 years. The findings came from analyzing 10 million workers’ employment-related drug tests.

Given the uptick, employers nationwide are left struggling to fully understand how recently passed state laws legalizing recreational marijuana possession and use and other state laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana impact what they can and can’t do to monitor and restrict cannabis use or possession among their employees.

While marijuana is still illegal under federal law, 28 states have passed legislation giving medical marijuana usage the green light. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. And, several states have enacted laws making the possession of small amounts of the drug a civil, not criminal, offense. How does the evolving legal landscape concerning medical and recreational marijuana affect employment policies on drug testing and off-duty conduct? During this session, you’ll learn:

  • The changing legal landscape concerning medical and recreational marijuana usage—what’s protected under state law and the practical impact of Proposition 64 when marijuana is still illegal under federal law
  • Best practices for federal contractors to follow with respect to drug testing and usage to ensure they don’t lose federal funding
  • Which California laws explicitly include employee non-discrimination protections and which likely don’t—and best practices for complying with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Compassionate Care Act
  • How to address the off-duty use of marijuana in California
  • How medical marijuana laws interact with unemployment and workers’ compensation-related benefits
  • Whether medical marijuana usage may qualify as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and FEHA
  • How to develop and manage drug-testing policies and practices in light of the current legal landscape
  • How to decide if your organization should test for marijuana
  • What to do if an employee tests positive for marijuana usage
  • The role of fitness for duty evaluations, and best practices for workplace safety