In the wake of Colorado and Washington’s legalization of the recreational use of marijuana, there has been a fair amount of media attention on the trend toward liberalization of state laws governing marijuana use. Given Massachusetts’ recent legalization of medical (not recreational) use of marijuana, we thought it might be a good time to revisit the topic for Massachusetts employers to eliminate any possible confusion.
First, Massachusetts employers do not have to accept employee use of marijuana if they otherwise prohibit it by practice or policy. This holds true even if the employee has a disabling medical condition. In other words, Massachusetts employers can discipline and discharge employees who use marijuana or have marijuana in their system while at work. Employers must make that crystal clear in their written policies. This may be a good time to look at your policies to see if you’ve done that.
This is an evolving issue, but – for now- the workplace impact of the trend toward relaxation of marijuana laws is minimal.