Dear YouDig?

Dear YouDig?,

One of our workers showed up to the construction site higher than puff the magic dragon! We were shocked when he pulled out a prescription. We are a drug-free, zero-tolerance work place. We sent puff home. Do we have a problem under Ohio’s new medical marijuana laws?

-In A Haze

Dear Haze,

Glad you sent puff home before he completed a very unproductive day for you, broke something or hurt himself! Ohio H.B 523 legalized the use of medical marijuana (MM) and created the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program to oversee everything from cultivators to dispensaries. It DID NOT open up the work place to stoned workers with ‘prescriptions’ for vague ailments.

The rules and regulations have been or are being carefully developed for full and complete implementation by September of 2018. Ohio will permit prescription use of MM for the treatment of certain specific diseases including ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s and others. MM will only be allowed in certain forms (no smoking). You are in luck, Haze, because the law protects employers from the impact of MM on the workplace–prescription or not.

Here is a 6 point summary to help clear things up:

  • Employers ARE NOT required to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession or distribution of the MM.
  • Zero-tolerance drug policies and drug free work places are permitted.
  • To receive worker’s compensation benefits, injured employees who are high (wow…that sounds wrong) must overcome a presumption that being under the influence of MM caused their injury.
  • For purposes of unemployment compensation, you have “just cause” to terminate an employee who violated your drug free work place policy or other policy regulating MM use.
  • MM is not legal federally, so MM will not be permitted for use under any circumstances on construction projects using federal funds.
  • Be careful as to “reasonable accommodations” requested under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The application of the law is developing.