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Employees and medical marijuana prescriptions

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2018 | Employment Law

The use of medical marijuana has increased over the last few years. This increase has caused some shifting in a few different arenas, including employment.

An understanding of the law may help people prevent or fight discrimination from a current or potential employer. Employees should be aware of a few key aspects.

Medical marijuana statute

Studies show that in some cases, medical marijuana is more effective in treating certain diseases and disorders than traditional medication. This led to the development of laws to protect the right of patients to utilize it, including Rhode Island’s medical marijuana statute. This statute details the use and distribution of marijuana, as well as the user’s protected rights. It is important to note that a key element of the application of this law is the employee having an actual prescription that denotes the marijuana is for medicinal purposes.

Changes for employers

There has been a rise in the number of employment discrimination cases in regards to medical marijuana. With the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling in favor of employees as of late, it is important that employers take heed. Still, there are some employers who may try not to hire employees who use medical marijuana, for fear of liability and increased danger. Those looking to do so may use specific wording within their job descriptions and employee handbooks, such as, “employees being able to maintain a constant state of alertness.” Other employers may be open to working with their employees to come up with reasonable accommodations that allow the employees to continue working in their current capacity. Either way, with the advancement of the law, employers must remain careful and be mindful of the law and their administration of it.

Considering the evolving nature of the application of this law, it is beneficial for employees to review it in full. For those who believe they are facing discrimination from their employer due to their medical marijuana use, it may be beneficial to consult a knowledgeable attorney to determine the best course of action.