Cannabis in the Workplace – How to Manage Maryland’s New Cannabis Laws
Beginning on July 1, 2023, Maryland will legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older (Maryland Cannabis Law). While this may be welcomed news for cannabis enthusiasts in Maryland, the new law will significantly impact the workplace. In this article, we explore the ways in which Maryland’s new cannabis laws may affect the workplace.
What should I be concerned about?
First and foremost, it is important to note that despite the legalization of cannabis in Maryland, employers still have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace. This means they can continue to conduct pre-employment drug screening inclusive of marijuana and prohibit employees from using cannabis on the job or showing up to work under the influence of cannabis.
Furthermore, the new law does not preclude employers from acting against job candidates or employees who violate their drug policies. For example, an employer may refuse to hire someone who tests positive for cannabis during pre-employment drug screening. Additionally, an employer may discipline or terminate an employee who violates the company’s drug policy.
One of the challenges that employers may face under Maryland’s new cannabis laws is determining whether an employee is under the influence of cannabis while on the job. Unlike alcohol, which can be detected through a breathalyzer, there is no widely accepted test for cannabis intoxication. Additionally, cannabis can be detectable in a person’s system well after ingesting the drug, so a positive test does not necessarily mean they are under the influence.
Some employers may choose to rely on observations of an employee’s behavior, such as red eyes or impaired motor function, to determine if they are under the influence of cannabis. However, this approach is not foolproof and may lead to legal challenges from employees.
Another potential challenge for employers is ensuring compliance with federal law. Despite legalizing cannabis in Maryland, it remains illegal under federal law. This means employers subject to federal regulations, such as transportation or healthcare, may face legal repercussions if they allow employees to use cannabis.
Employers may also need to consider the potential impact of the new cannabis laws on workplace safety. This could be especially important for safety-sensitive industries such as manufacturing or construction.
In conclusion, Maryland’s new cannabis laws will significantly impact the workplace. While employers still have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace, they must navigate a complex legal landscape to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. They will also need to consider the potential impact of cannabis use on workplace safety. As Maryland’s cannabis laws continue to evolve, it will be important for employers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and consult with experts as needed.
How BlueStone Services Can Help
BlueStone Services can be a guide and a resource for you and your future planning. Clients can connect with an HR expert on an as-needed basis to discuss the impact of employment law policy changes and advise on employee relations issues. Our hourly rate packages make it simple for you to select the right amount of time needed for your objectives. Contact us to get started today!