Tuesday, September 25, 2018

It's Time to Consider Updating Your Marijuana Policy

27 states have now legalized some degree of medical marijuana. With this legalization comes the challenge of figuring out how to accommodate employees while dealing with the safety and health implications. Here are some steps that can be taken.

1) Plan out a strategy on how to enforce or accommodate medical marijuana use. There are two routes most employers can take. 1) Banning marijuana in the work place. Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, federal regulations allow for employers to prohibit despite different state regulations. 2) Allowing medical marijuana with restrictions. Employees may argue for their right to use the substance off-duty as prescribed, but since employer policies can trump state laws, it is important that you communication expectations to employees. If a company does decide to allow medical marijuana usage, it is important to add a medical marijuana policy as well. Employees should report changes to the product, dosage, frequency, scheduled use or route of administration they are prescribed. Employers should then create rules such as: documentation of workers medical conditions, compare schedule of use to work schedule, and outline the responsibilities of both the employer and employee (ex: mandatory reporting). Employers should also work with a Medical Review Officer (MRO) to verify the legitimacy of the prescription.

2) Make Sure Your Policy is in Writing. Is it really a policy if it is not in writing? Policies should include knowledge of state and federal laws and also be reviewed at least once a year.

3) Put a Drug Testing and Employee Assistance Program into Place. Drug testing commonly happens before companies hire an employee, after an incident, and with reasonable suspicion.

4) Education. As important as the other steps are, you must make employees knowledgeable about the company policy on medical marijuana in order for it to be effective.

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