Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

Medical Marijuana Giving Employers Headaches Already

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Today, our firm held the last of two free seminars on employment law. Thanks to all who attended.

Surprisingly, one of the issues our attendees had a bunch of questions on was the new medical marijuana bill that became effective October 1, 2012. 

Now, I’m not going to go back over the entire bill in this post (you can see my prior post here).

But there are three things that we talked about that are worth repeating:

1. Employers can still prohibit employees from using marijuana at work and still prohibit employees from being intoxicated (or stoned) at work too.

2. While we don’t have a Connecticut case yet, it is unlikely that the ADA will require employers to consider a reasonable accommodation involving medical marijuana usage (such as being able to use it during work hours).  A Ninth Circuit case on this subject is useful.  Less settled is whether Connecticut’s law on disability discrimination might come out differently.

3.  Lastly, while an employer may not fire someone because of their status as a medical marijuana patient, the law does have an important caveat.  The employer can act if ”required by federal law or required to obtain federal funding.”  Thus, if there are, for example, commercial driving laws in your industry that restrict the use of marijuana, it appears that law will trump state law.

This is still a relatively new area for employers to deal with so to the extent you have additional questions, be sure to contact your local attorney for more details.