Medical Marijuana in Ohio Workplaces

This is a follow-up article to the last blog post titled Why Do You Need an Employment Handbook?, in which medical marijuana in the workplace was identified as a recent issue for employers to consider when updating their employment handbooks. Effective on September 8, 2016, House Bill 523 legalized medical marijuana in Ohio. House Bill 523 was codified in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3796, which sets the basic framework for the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (the “Program”). The Program allows people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board, to purchase and use medical marijuana. Rules, Program resources, and important updates on the Program can be found at https://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/.

For this new highly regulated industry, the adoption of certain rules was required for the implementation of the Program, including rules on processing, cultivation, dispensing, laboratory testing, etc. The different state agencies who were assigned the task of establishing specific rules and guidelines for the various aspects related to the medical use of marijuana include: (i) the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy; (ii) the State Medical Board of Ohio; and (iii) the Ohio Department of Commerce (the “Agencies”). Over the past two years, the Agencies have adopted rules required for the implementation of the Program, and the most recent report from the Program is that medical marijuana should be available in limited quantities in Ohio for the remainder of 2018 and in the beginning of 2019.

With the implementation of the Program upon us, employers need to evaluate their position on the medical marijuana issues and to update any related employment policies, procedures, and practices accordingly. More specifically, they need to consider and determine their position on the following workplace issues:

  1. How they might handle accommodations for the use of medical marijuana;
  2. What adverse action, if any, they might take against employees based upon medical marijuana use; and
  3. How the issue of medical marijuana will impact any drug-testing and zero tolerance policies, drug-free workplace programs, etc.

Contact NHRMC

Nardone HR & Management Consulting (“Nardone Consultants”) advises and represents employers in HR, management, and labor and employment law matters. Nardone Consultants’ goal is to tailor its services to meet each client’s needs, from developing a customized employment handbook to providing complete in-house HR support to representing clients in employment disputes, such as discrimination or harassment charges filed with EEOC or OCRC. If your company needs a new or updated employment handbook or it needs to evaluate how medical marijuana impacts its current policies and practices, contact Nardone Consultants.

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