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How Legalization of Marijuana Will Affect Your Business

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For the past few years, the legal setting of the marijuana use has greatly shifted. Every year, more and more states are decriminalizing marijuana for recreational purposes and medical use. However, the legalization of marijuana has raised many questions for business people. For instance, if your state sanctions marijuana, do businesses within that state need to alter their policies on the substance? Can employers still subject their employees to marijuana tests? Can employers fire workers who use marijuana? There are several ways in which marijuana can affect how the businesses operate.

Last year, the Massachusetts voters approved the proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The law was effective on December 15, 2016, allowing adults above 21 years to possess and use marijuana for recreational use. The law, however, forbids the use of weed in the public places and other places that prohibit smoking in Massachusetts.

According to the statute, the employer doesn’t have to permit or accommodate the use of marijuana, or intoxication in the work environment. Therefore, the new law doesn’t change the employer’s authority to enforce policies on restricting the use of marijuana for employees. The policies in place for workplaces may still remain relevant covering all aspects of the workplace such as off-site duties, use the company vehicles, or attend work-related functions within or outside the work premises.

According to Question 4, employers can impose a drug policy for workers but the employers should be cautious when applying or amending the drug testing policy. For instance, drug testing the workers may subject the employer to the violation of the employee’s privacy if the testing is not rational in relation to the nature of the company business or the worker’s duties.

Furthermore, privacy concerns are some of the issues that employers are grappling with as marijuana is increasingly legalized in many states. For example, it’s challenging to handle an employee who uses marijuana on medical grounds. Since the laws were approved in Massachusetts, an employee has a right to sue an employer for violations of the medical cannabis statute, invasion of privacy, and disability discrimination.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of journaltranscript.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure

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