Concerned about how marijuana use could impact your job? Our Ponca City employment law attorneys discuss what employers look at in evaluating worker use.
Marijuana reform is sweeping across the country. In Oklahoma, medical marijuana is permitted with a doctor’s referral. Despite having a valid license, your medical marijuana use may still be an issue on the job. Our Ponca City employment law attorneys highlight some of the legal issues employers are looking at and their rights in dealing with medical marijuana use among employees.
Research indicates that cannabinoids, the active ingredient in medical marijuana, offer a variety of benefits. These include lessening pain, alleviating inflammation, reducing muscle spasms, aiding digestion, and combating nausea. Marijuana can also help address anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Laws legalizing medical marijuana in Oklahoma passed in June of 2018. Since then, more than 200,000 people have obtained medical marijuana licenses through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA).
The increasing use of medical marijuana has created legal issues in the workplace. To protect both employers and their employees, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act was passed in March of 2019. This sets guidelines for how employers can deal with workers who are medical marijuana users, granting them the following rights:
- The right to prohibit the use or possession of medical marijuana on the job.
- The right to inquire as to medical marijuana use if an applicant will be in what is considered a safety-sensitive job.
- The right to conduct periodic tests screening for marijuana use.
- The right to take disciplinary actions against employees in safety-sensitive jobs who test positive for marijuana, regardless of whether they have a medical license from the state.
As a licensed medical marijuana user, you have the right to buy it through a dispensary and have it in your possession, to cultivate it for personal use, and to use it as prescribed. The National Law Review advises that while employers may place some restrictions on it, those who discriminate against employees as a result of their status as a medical marijuana license holder can face legal liability. To avoid opening themselves up to claims, employers should take the following steps:
- Clearly spell out policies regarding a drug-free workplace in employee manuals;
- Update job descriptions, deciding which are safety-sensitive and make sure they meet the legal criteria;
- Be aware of which employees are licensed for medical marijuana use when performing employee drug tests;
- Be aware of any accommodations you may have to make for medical marijuana users to ensure you do not violate state or federal disability discrimination laws.
If you suspect you are being discriminated against due to your status as a medical marijuana user, BDIW Law can provide the trusted legal guidance you need. Contact our Ponca City employment law attorneys and request a consultation today.