American Voters are Seeing Green

Mary Jane was a stand-out winner from the 2020 election

On Nov. 3, 2020, voters in several states voted to “puff puff” pass measures to allow recreational marijuana or medicinal marijuana, leaving many employers in these states to navigate a gray area of legislation when it comes to company workplace drug policies.  

There are now 15 states allowing recreational marijuana, with the newest additions being Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey. Additionally, 35 states have now legalized medical marijuana. Mississippi and South Dakota were recently added to the list, with the latter also passing recreational marijuana through a joint ballot initiative. Take a look at this U.S. map showing the marijuana laws in all 50 states

Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance at the federal level, so while more states are choosing to spark up medical marijuana programs or allow recreational marijuana, employers are having to revisit their workplace drug policies to make adjustments or determine if they’re simply going up in smoke. 

The guidelines each state sets around medical or recreational marijuana vary widely. Like Arizona, some states have additional marijuana laws on record that prohibit employers from discriminating against medical marijuana users. On the other hand, Montana added employer-friendly provisions to their laws that do not require businesses to permit or accommodate recreational marijuana use in the workplace or on the employer’s property. 

Keeping track of these laws across the U.S. or just in your state can turn into a mixed bag of stems and seeds pretty quickly, so it’s important to know your local regulations when adjusting and enforcing your workplace policies. Let’s roll up some best practices to follow 

while your company navigates the budding marijuana landscape according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM):

  • Don’t tolerate marijuana use on the job, just as you wouldn’t tolerate alcohol use.
  • Train managers to spot signs of impairment.
  • Think carefully about the type of [drug] test your company uses and stay on top of developments in testing technology. 
  • Talk to a lawyer about relevant state laws before setting policies and rules. 
  • For companies operating in different states, testing policies may need to vary by location. 
  • Educate employees about the company marijuana-use policy and the repercussions for failed tests, including random, post-accident, or reasonable suspicion tests. 

Ultimately, employees must follow an employer’s workplace drug policy and can’t be under the influence of marijuana while at work or while driving for work regardless of their status as a medical marijuana patient or if their state allows recreational use. 

From guiding you through best practices to helping you create and enforce workplace drug policies, our HR business partners are ready to help clear up some of the gray area around these issues. Contact your HR business partner at 888.811.5150.

Also on Nextep

The Answer Depends on Your State…For Now As we reported in January, non-compete agreements preventing employees from working for competitors are becoming increasingly unenforceable. The FTC is currently working on banning them at a federal level, but unless and until that decision comes, non-competes are enforced at a state (and sometimes even local) level.  As […]
Read more
When hiring workers, knowing whether they’re employees or independent contractors is essential. The difference between the two can significantly impact your business, including your tax liability, your liability for workers’ compensation claims, the worker’s rights and benefits, and your ability to control how your workers do their jobs. Read all about it here, and check […]
Read more
Employers Must Now Prove “Substantial Increased Cost” to Deny Religious Accommodation Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that employers must now demonstrate a substantially increased cost to deny an employee’s request for a religious accommodation.  This ruling, which comes in the case of Groff v. DeJoy, clarifies the standard for “undue hardship” under Title VII of […]
Read more
Here’s How the Recent Ruling Affects Your Company You may have read that in late June, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. Here’s the implication this ruling could mean for you as a small or medium-sized business owner. To be clear, the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action does not explicitly […]
Read more
NLRA Protections: They’re Not Just for Unions In the intricate fabric of company dynamics, employee protections exist, even in non-unionized companies, as granted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). These protections give employees the freedom to engage in open discussions on various workplace matters, even those conversations that may make employers a tad uneasy. […]
Read more
Have you ever felt stuck in a job that doesn’t fully utilize your skills or expertise? Or have you ever been a part of a team that just doesn’t seem to have the right skills to do the job effectively? This is a common problem in the workplace, known as the skills gap. But don’t […]
Read more
Start planning for your future superstar. What would happen to your company if you lose a key leader or employee tomorrow? It’s a tough question, but necessary. You want to ensure your company can continue, even without the lifeblood that keeps it running smoothly today. That’s where succession planning comes in. Succession planning is identifying […]
Read more
Let’s talk about something that can make a huge difference in our work lives – Emotional Intelligence (EI).  Emotional Intelligence is like a superpower that helps us navigate our own emotions and understand the emotions of others. It’s all about self-awareness and empathy, which leads to better communication, stronger relationships, and improved decision-making. It’s like […]
Read more
Maximize Your Team’s Career Potential Ongoing employee training is crucial to any successful business. It’s the foundation upon which we build our success, the cornerstone of growth and progress. But here’s the catch: we can’t just train our employees once when they’re hired and call it done. We must all be perpetual students, learning new […]
Read more
How can you prioritize ethics in the workplace? Leaders play a critical role in shaping the ethics and values of a workplace. Here are 5 surefire ways that you, as a leader, can be modeling ethics from the top down: Lead by example: You set the tone for the rest of the organization, so it’s […]
Read more
Help support your employees in a tough economy Let’s talk about supporting employees in a tough economy. It’s a challenging time for everyone, but it’s imperative that employees feel valued and supported during tough times. Here are some ways companies can care for employees in a tough economy: Offer flexible work arrangements: Offer flexible work […]
Read more
Thriving in Turbulent Times Growing your business during an economic downturn can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With the right approach and creativity, you can position your business for success, even in tough economic times. Here are some tips to help you grow your company, even when the economy isn’t looking so hot: 1. […]
Read more

Download Our App