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When Medical Marijuana Laws Conflict With Company Policies

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Under federal law, marijuana is illegal. Some states, however, have legalized medical marijuana; last month, New Jersey became the 14th state to do so.  The general rule of thumb is that when state law bumps up against federal law, employers are required to follow the law that is most generous to employees.  Richard L. Hurford of Ogletree Deakins (Bloomfield Hills, MI) addresses employers' rights and obligations in states with medical marijuana laws.


Zero-Tolerance Policies

Situation #1: Your company has a zero-tolerance drug use policy.  So when an applicant's pre-employment drug test comes back positive, you withdraw the conditional job offer.  The applicant reveals they are a medical marijuana user.


What to do: Start by "verifying that there is a medical prescription for the use of marijuana," said Hurford.  "Under state law in those states where the use of marijuana has been legalized, it has only been leg...(register to read more)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris December 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

As a physician I would advise you not to focus on what employers aren’t required to accommodate, but instead look towards the rapidly-approaching future and proactively develop policies which treat marijuana just like alcohol in the workplace. Get in front of this, or you’ll struggle to catch up later. Legal marijuana is coming, like it or not. Be part of the future.


joy auker September 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hi There: Curious to know if you can direct me to a site that provides samples of hr drug policies that deal with medical marijuan use for the state of Az. We currently have a zero-tolerance policy that may need to be updated. Thanks so much!

J Auker


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