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Medical Marijuana Law’s Impact on the Workplace

8.5.16

The article, “Medical Marijuana Law’s Impact on the Workplace,” featured in Akron Legal News, discussed how Ohio’s new medical marijuana law has left many in the state with unanswered questions, ranging from when and where it will be available to what its effect will be on the workplace.

Scott Gedeon said he’s received a number of calls from employers that are concerned about whether their drug-free workplace, zero tolerance drug and alcohol and/or substance abuse policies are still valid.

“What I’ve been telling companies is that the new law will not impact existing policies or an employer’s ability to contest a workers’ compensation or unemployment claim,” said Scott.

“The law is basically like alcohol,” he said. “Even though it’s legal an employee cannot consume it on the job. The same will hold true for medical marijuana. An employer will not be asked to accommodate an employee who is impaired because of its use, even if the employee has a prescription for it.”

Scott said The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the State Medical Board of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Commerce have been charged with implementing various aspects of the law, with an advisory board recommending rules to the agencies.

He said the bill prohibits people from smoking medical marijuana.

Scott stated at this point it’s still unclear when and where patients can get their prescriptions filled.

While employers can fire workers for using prescribed medical marijuana while on duty, Scott advised all companies to review their workplace policies and seek legal advice if they believe changes are necessary before the law takes effect in early September.

“For now an employer’s right to protect employees trumps an individual’s right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes,” Scott said. “While the drug could help employees in pain or suffering from nausea to be more productive, it also leads to impaired coordination and delayed decision making.”

To read the full article, please visit Akron Legal News.

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