Opinion: What Employers Must Need to Know About Marijuana Laws?

When Amendment 2 was approved in 2018, Article XIV, Section 1 was added to the Missouri Constitution, legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana for eligible patients with a doctor’s approval. The adoption of Amendment 3 on November 8, 2022, with effect on December 8, 2022, amended Section 1 and added Section 2, making it lawful for anyone age 21 or older to get and use various types of legal marijuana in accordance with the rules in the amendments.

The federal Controlled Substances Act still identifies marijuana as an unlawful “drug of abuse,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, despite the modifications. Marijuana use is not permitted at work in Missouri, and employers are not required to accept it or make accommodations for it while employees are on the premises of the business.

However, if one of the following three criteria is the basis for the discrimination, the firm is not allowed to discriminate against a person in the hiring process, termination, or in any terms or conditions of employment, or penalize them in any other way.

If the candidate or employee is a qualified patient first. Second, if the candidate or employee has a current ID card and is a primary caregiver. Third, if the qualifying patient utilized legal marijuana items outside the company’s property while not on the clock.

A Business’ Rights

Even if a worker has a valid qualifying patient identification card, a company may still refuse to hire them and discipline, fire, or otherwise take adverse employment action against them regarding selection, tenure, terms, conditions, and privileges of employment if they are caught working while under the influence of marijuana. An employer is permitted to conduct adverse employment proceedings in five particular circumstances that are listed in Article XIV.

1. if the worker tests positive for marijuana components or metabolites and used, had access to, or was impaired by medical marijuana on the job site or while working. Job searchers are held to the same standard.

2. if the legal use of a legal marijuana product in any way compromises the security of other people.

3. if the use in any way interferes with the ability to carry out duties linked to the job.

4. if the use infringed on a team member’s legitimate occupational requirement that is properly connected to their employment.

5. Because marijuana is banned under federal law the business would lose money or licensing benefits as a result of an applicant or employee consuming a legal marijuana product in Missouri.

Steps for Businesses

Businesses should take the following actions to successfully navigate the modifications and ensure compliance.

  1. Make a policy that forbids using marijuana in any way while working or while on business property. This includes smoking, eating, or otherwise consuming it.
  2. Continue to enforce all facets of the current drug-free workplace and safety standards. Add the term “marijuana” as necessary to the policy because it is legal to possess and consume marijuana; in some situations, it is even regarded as a prescription medication.
  3. Make it illegal to arrive at work while impaired, even when under the influence of marijuana. Pre-employment, random, on-the-job injuries, accidents, and reasonable suspicion testing procedures should continue.
  4. Ascertain that supervisors are aware of the processes for conducting reasonable suspicion tests, including how to document any improper behaviors seen. Observe current disciplinary and termination guidelines.
  5. If necessary, establish a drug-free workplace policy and a safety policy.

  1. Managers should receive training on the signs of possible marijuana intoxication, which include confusion, irritability, rambling, red eyes, sluggish behavior, poor coordination, difficulty focusing, lack of motivation, a skunk-like odor, inappropriate or uncontrollable laughing, and an inability to maintain a conversation and/or dialog unrelated to the topic.
  2. Make sure job descriptions include information on responsibilities, such as definitions of quantity and quality measurements.
  3. Create a “Knowledge, Abilities and Abilities” section in which you mention each personality feature necessary for the job, such as being enthusiastic, self-driven, positive, paying attention to details, being able to follow instructions, and having verbal and interpersonal communication skills.
  4. Describe each feature in terms of behavior. Include any legitimate professional requirements, such as drivers abstaining from marijuana use or impaired operation of a vehicle. This will serve as proof in favor of punishment, dismissal, and drug tests.
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