Ohio Legalizes Medical Marijuana

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September 6, 2016

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In September 2016, Ohio will join 25 other states in legalizing the use of medical marijuana.  Although House Bill 523 permits individuals with a qualifying diagnosis to purchase marijuana in other states and use it in Ohio, the bill also protects employers’ rights to a drug-free workplace by implementing certain provisions.

Key protections for employers include:

  • Ability to prohibit employee use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana;
  • Ability to establish, modify or implement workplace drug policies;
  • Protects employers from lawsuits for adverse employment actions taken related to medical marijuana;
  • Does not require altering any compliance policies or procedures regarding applicable U.S. Department of Transportation regulations;
  • Does not require employers to curtail adverse employment decisions because of employee use, possession or distribution of medical marijuana;
  • Provides an employer “just cause” in unemployment claims for discharge of an individual who violates the employer’s drug-free policy.

Further, the bill does not change the employer’s right to challenge workers’ compensation claims where the injury can be attributed to use of medical marijuana.  Despite the legalization of medical marijuana, Ohio employers’ rights to a drug-free workplace are well protected.

Action Items:

  1. Review your drug-free policies and procedures to address medical marijuana use. Revised policies should be distributed to all staff, with an acknowledgment of receipt signed and placed in personnel files.
  2. Contact ManagEase at (888) 230-3231 for assistance in drafting drug-free work policies and revising employee handbooks or other documents.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2016 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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