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Marijuana Regulation and the workplace
How does this impact employers and their policies?

January 27, 2020 · Human Resource Management,


Starting in 2020, some states will prohibit employers from screening new hires for marijuana, CBD, or any other form of drugs or refuse to hire applicants based on failed pre-employment drug screens. Only 4 out of 50 states have no public cannabis program i.e they are fully illegal and these states are Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. 


The use of recreational marijuana is legal in the following 12 states which imply Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol. These twelve states are Washington Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.  Out of these states, only California, Michigan, Oregon, Illinois, and Colorado can fire the employees who test positive for marijuana even off-hours or for medicinal use.


States that allow CBD or Low THC products are Wyoming, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

United States map of State Cannabis Programs

Image Source: NCSL

Nevada Marijuana law passed on Jan 1, 2020, states that a public or private employer is not prohibited from maintaining, enacting, and enforcing a workplace policy prohibiting or restricting actions or conduct otherwise permitted under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.


23 out of 50 states have comprehensive medical marijuana programs. 


But regardless of its use as medicinal or for recreational, if an employee cannot perform his job duties and responsibilities, then that employer can take action regardless of the residing state. Employers can also have a zero-marijuana policy for the jobs that directly impact the safety of others like drivers, nurses, child care-givers, etc.


But this does not give the employer a free hand to create a zero-tolerance policy to handle the use of marijuana in the workplace.


State Legal Status Medicinal Not a Criminal offence
Alabama Fully Illegal No No
Alaska Fully Legal since 2014 Yes Yes
Arizona Mixed Yes No
Arkansas Mixed Yes No
California Fully Legal since 2016 Yes Yes
Colorado Fully Legal Yes Yes
Connecticut Mixed Yes Reduced
Delaware Mixed Yes Reduced
District of Columbia Fully Legal Yes Yes
Florida Mixed Yes No
Georgia Mixed CBD Oil No
Hawaii Mixed Yes Reduced
Idaho Fully Illegal No No
Illinois Fully Legal* Yes Yes
Indiana Mixed CBD Oil No
Iowa Mixed CBD Oil No
Kansas Fully Illegal No No
Kentucky Mixed CBD Oil No
Louisiana Mixed Yes No
Maine Fully Legal since 2016 Yes Yes
Maryland Mixed Yes Reduced
Massachusetts Fully Legal since 2016 Yes Yes
Michigan Fully Legal Yes Yes
Minnesota Mixed Yes Reduced
Mississippi Fully Illegal No Reduced
Missouri Mixed Yes Reduced
Montana Mixed Yes No
Nebraska Fully Illegal No Reduced
Nevada Fully Legal  since 2016 Yes Yes
New Hampshire Mixed Yes Reduced
New Jersey Mixed Yes No
New Mexico Mixed Yes Reduced
New York Mixed Yes Reduced
North Carolina Fully Illegal No Reduced
North Dakota Mixed Yes Reduced
Ohio Mixed Yes Reduced
Oklahoma Mixed Yes No
Oregon Fully Legal since 2014 Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Mixed Yes No
Rhode Island Mixed Yes Reduced
South Carolina Fully Illegal No No
South Dakota Fully Illegal No No, since 1977
Tennessee Fully Illegal No No
Texas Mixed CBD Oil No
Utah Mixed Yes No
Vermont Fully Legal Yes Yes
Virginia Mixed CBD Oil No
Washington Fully Legal since 2012 Yes Yes
West Virginia Mixed Yes No
Wisconsin Fully Illegal No No
Wyoming Fully Illegal No No


Disclaimer: BizMerlinHR does not provide tax or legal advice and any information contained in this email should not be construed as such. Always consult with a tax or legal professional regarding your specific situation.

P.C Image by Rex Medlen from Pixabay