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Legal Marijuana And Employment Law: What Businesses Need To Know

attorneys, the U.S. Department of Justice reiterated that it is committed to enforcing the act. However, the memo acknowledged that prosecuting marijuana users is not necessarily high on its to-do list. The Department is also committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats in the most effective, consistent and rational way, the memo by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole stated. In furtherance of these objectives, as several states enacted laws relating to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the Department in recent years has focused its efforts on certain enforcement priorities that are particularly important to the federal government[.] Those priorities include preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors and preventing profits from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels, among others.

Other federal laws specifically forbid medical marijuana use. The U.S. Department of Transportations Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation does not recognize legal medical marijuana to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employees positive drug test result. To further add to the confusion, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to make a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities, which can present murky areas when workers have a doctors note that allows them to use marijuana. The Coats Case When laws conflict, employers and their legal counsel look to court rulings for clarification. Since the boom in legalized medical marijuana began recently, lawsuits are only now beginning to work their way through the system.
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