Ohio Becomes 24th State to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana: 7 Key Considerations for Employers
On November 7, 2023, Ohio voters made Ohio the twenty-fourth state in…
November 9, 2023Read Morearrow_forward
November 9, 2023
For employers, Ohio’s law does not contain an anti-discrimination or employment protection provision for marijuana, as some states’ marijuana laws do. In those states, employers may not discriminate or otherwise take adverse employment action against employees based solely on medical marijuana cardholder status or recreational marijuana use. Likewise, the statute does not currently provide any provisions to reduce employment barriers for past users of marijuana, such as requiring past convictions to be sealed, expunged, or otherwise not considered in the hiring process.
Strategically, Ohio employers should remain diligent in keeping marijuana issues within the lens of recreational use, rather than inadvertently obtaining knowledge of medical cardholder status, which could trigger disability considerations. By way of example, if an individual tests positive for marijuana and does not disclose medical cardholder status, employers may want to refrain from asking if the person is a cardholder. Stated more plainly, employers have greater flexibility in managing personnel issues with recreational users in Ohio than with medical cardholders.
Following are seven key considerations for employers as they evaluate their Ohio policies and practices in light of the new legislation:
Although Ohio is the most recent state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana (see Ogletree Deakins’ map below), the trend across the United States indicates a growing consensus for such legalization. As more states move to legalize marijuana, employers are faced with complex and wide-ranging workplace issues created by the growing patchwork of federal, state, and local laws. While some employers may view marijuana legalization as simply a drug-testing issue, laws governing marijuana cover a wide variety of topics, including statutory and regulatory compliance, disability discrimination, workplace safety and health, government contractor status, workers’ compensation, employee privacy, and public policy concerns.
Ogletree Deakins’ Drug Testing and Workplace Safety and Health practice groups will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and related policy topics and will provide updates on the Drug Testing and Workplace Safety and Health blogs as additional information becomes available. Further information on federal, state, and major marijuana laws is also available via the firm’s Client Portal.