Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pennsylvania's New Medical Marijuana Law Includes Employment Protections

On Sunday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a new medical marijuana legalization bill into law. You can read the full text of the law, Senate Bill 3, here. Of interest to Lawffice Space readers, the new law contains some employment provisions.

The gist of these provisions is that employers may not discriminate or retaliate against employees who are "certified to use medical marijuana" - not to be confused with recreational users. Employers are not required to allow marijuana use on their property or place of employment. Employers may still discipline employees who are under the influence in the workplace . . . "when the employee's conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position." Finally, the employer does not have to do anything that would violate federal law.
Unrolled marijuana joint. Public domain.

It is not clear (at least it is not clear to me yet) what happens if an employer violates these rules. I can only imagine litigating the issue of whether the employee can satisfactorily perform his or her job while stoned. In any event, here are the relevant provisions:
Section 2103  
(B) Employment.  
(1) No employer may discharge, threaten, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding an employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee's status as an individual who is certified to use medical marijuana.  
(2) Nothing in this act shall require an employer to make any accommodation of the use of medical marijuana on the property or premises of any place of employment. This act shall in no way limit an employer's ability to discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of medical marijuana when the employee's conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position.  
(3) Nothing in this act shall require an employer to commit any act that would put the employer or any person acting on its behalf in violation of federal law.