Marijuana at Work: What Employers Should Know

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60 Mins
Webinar ID

Understand the issues that employer need to consider when reviewing their policies and practices concerning the use of marijuana.

America is in the midst of a marijuana revolution. While federal law --- the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act --- still classify cannabis as an illegal drug, a near-majority of states now permit the sale and use of medical marijuana. Half a dozen jurisdictions have legalized recreational use.

This clash between state and federal law has led the U.S. Justice Department to back away from most enforcement activities in those jurisdictions where marijuana is legal, while in states where it remains forbidden, many municipalities have de-criminalized possession.

Despite all of this change, most employers continue to forbid its possession and use on the workplace premises, and some disciplines their employees who fail random drug tests, even if the pot was imbibed at home on their own time. Even in states where recreational use is allowed, no university permits students to smoke it in the dorms and no courts have given their seals of approval.

In California, for example, a federal district court recently reaffirmed that an employer maintains the right to discipline employees even where the marijuana use is recommended by a physician: “It does not violate [California’s laws against workplace discrimination] to terminate employees based on their use of marijuana, regardless of why they use it,” wrote the federal judge. Similarly in Colorado, which like California has legalized both medical and recreational use, the Supreme Court recently ruled that a disabled worker could be terminated for a positive test result

For government contractors, the federal Drug –Free Workplace Act also overshadows any inclination such employers may have to allow medical-marijuana use on site. But how do they reconcile this with the Americans with Disabilities Act… or can they?

 The changing marijuana landscape facing employers includes:

• Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia, which currently have laws legalizing medical marijuana

• Half a dozen states that have already legalized the recreational use of pot

• Decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana by a growing number of states and municipalities

• Courts that have begun wrestling with what all these new laws may in fact mean and how to reconcile them with unchanged federal statutes

• Last, but hardly least, the U.S. Department of Justice, which has issued a series of memoranda outlining its revamped approach to enforcement of federal drug laws where marijuana is concerned.

How should employer respond to this revolution? Should they be reexamining their drug and alcohol policies? Should employee marijuana use be treated the same as alcohol violations or as a federal crime? Does the Americans with Disabilities Act impact how to deal with employee with disabilities, who may wish to use medicinal marijuana? What role do FERPA and the Clery Act play in the mix?

Please join Dr. James Ottavio Castagnera as he offers guidance on these and other questions that employers need to consider when reviewing their policies and practices concerning the use of marijuana. In addition Jim will also examine the myths and realities of drug driving, the workplace-safety impact of marijuana use, medical effects and health impacts, and the relationship between recreational use and drug-dealing in workplaces.

Objectives of the Presentation:

Just a sampling of what this webinar will cover:

•       The states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use and/or medical use; and what these new laws really mean

•       A review of the current policies of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education

•       How the Americans with Disabilities Act figures into the equation

•       Consideration of what happened to the Drug Free Workplace Act

•       Evolving university policies in states that have legalized recreational marijuana use; in states that have legalized medical use; in states with no legalization

•       Safety and health issues involving marijuana use including: drug driving; campus drug dealing and related crimes; health & medical effects; work impacts

•       FERPA and parental notification issues

•       CLERY Act implications

 Who Will Benefit:

•       HR Managers

•       HR Directors

•       Direct Supervisors

•       Senior Managers

•       Safety Officers

•       Risk Managers

•       Office Managers

•       CEO’s

•       Business Owners