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How is HR responding to marijuana legalization?

Because federal law still prohibits all marijuana use, employers need not worry about lawsuits over their pot rules, according to Kathryn Russo, an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Long Island, New York.

“Many medical marijuana laws explicitly provide that employers need not accommodate marijuana use at work,” Russo told SHRM. “In Colorado and Washington, where there are both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana laws, lawsuits filed by employees using medical marijuana have been dismissed.”

The most common response to a violation of the drug policy is termination. That’s the case for half of employers in medical-only states and 41 percent of employers in states where pot is completely legal. The next most common responses are mandatory drug counseling and written warnings.

Only 2 percent of employers surveyed in states where marijuana is fully legal said that they allow employees to use the drug recreationally. Interestingly, HR professionals in states where it is fully legal are less likely to carve out exceptions to the rules for medical use (11 percent) than those in states where only medical marijuana is legal (22 percent). [Read More]


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