Workplace Impact of Marijuana Legalization: What Employers Need to Know

Susan Burton presented on “Workplace Impact of Marijuana Legalization: What Employers Need to Know” at the Austin Bar Labor & Employment Section on Nov. 6, 2019. Below are some key takeaways for employers regarding this timely topic:

  • Review the medical cannabis and anti-discrimination laws in the states/cities where you conduct business.
  • Review your drug policy to make sure it prevents the possession, use, or sale of alcohol, marijuana, (medical or recreational) and illegal drugs at work or during work hours and prohibits impairment at work or during working hours.
  • Train managers to spot signs of impairment
  • Ensure that policies expressly identify marijuana as a prohibited substance, instead of referring to “illegal drugs” since in some states that phrase may no longer encompass marijuana.
  • Determine whether any federal statute or regulation requires your organization to maintain a drug-free workplace or decline to employ any applicant testing positive for marijuana.
  • Review job descriptions to make sure you have identified “safety sensitive” jobs.
  • Consider adopting medical marijuana policies that focus on employee intoxication or impairment in the workplace, rather than on medical marijuana away from work.
  • Consider limiting drug testing for cannabis to situations where an employee appears to be under the influence or impaired while on the job.
  • If a prospective or current employee notifies you of medical marijuana use, consult with counsel to determine whether a reasonable accommodation is required by state law and/or feasible.


Should you have questions concerning the current state of the law regarding marijuana legalization and how it impacts your business, please contact Susan or one of our other attorneys at CSMBB.