On Tuesday, Massachusetts residents legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. How does this effect your relationship with your employees and what steps should you be taking in the near future?
First, the statute includes an employment provision which provides that: “This chapter shall not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this chapter in the workplace and shall not affect the authority of employers to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.” Accordingly, now is the time to get out your employee handbooks and your anti-drug policies and review the language included in the policies to make sure that the language restricts the use of drugs that are illegal under either state or federal law, as you don’t want to find yourself in a position arguing that marijuana is “legal” under state law, but “illegal” under federal law.
Second, you need to take the above steps soon. The statutory language provides that the act will take effect on December 15, 2016. Accordingly, you have a little over a month to perform the policy review, make the changes and communicate the policy changes and expectations to your employees.