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One of the issues surrounding marijuana legalization is the impact it will have on employers’ ability to maintain drug-free workplaces. Earlier this week, the New Jersey State Supreme Court provided some guidance when it ruled that firing employees using medical marijuana may be considered discrimination under state law.

At the law firm Connell Foley, NJBIA’s legal resources provider, attorneys Lauren F. Iannaccone, Leo J. Hurley Jr., and Michael A. Shadiack sort through the decision in their latest blog post.

As they explain, nothing in the ruling requires employers to have employees under the influence of cannabis at the workplace or during work hours. However, employees registered as medical marijuana patients may need to be accommodated if they fail a drug test.

“As the use of medical marijuana increases, employers are facing novel questions about their rights and responsibilities related to employees who use medical cannabis,” the attorneys write. “A recent decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court is providing some much-needed guidance in this rapidly evolving area of the law.”

New Jersey has not legalized recreational use of marijuana, but has allowed for medical marijuana for several years now. The most recent law, 2018’s Compassionate Care Act, expanded the conditions that marijuana can be used to treat. Naturally, more people in New Jersey are on medical marijuana than ever before.

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees with disabilities, which could include someone who uses medical marijuana outside the workplace, the attorneys explain.

As the case was making its way to the Supreme Court, lawmakers approved the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, which also addressed the issue.  According to Connell Foley, the Supreme Court decision is consistent with the law’s provisions.

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