Shipman & Goodwin Partner Dan Schwartz appeared on the “This Week in Connecticut” with Dennis House on Sunday to discuss the state’s new legal cannabis law and its implications for the workplace.
In the weekly Sunday news show, Dan discussed how the new law legalizing marijuana use does not necessarily mean quick changes to how employers manage the workplace.
In fact, many of the provisions regarding employers are not effective until July 2022. Even then, there are entire industries (schools, construction, etc.) that are exempt from much of the law.
On “This Week”, Dan explained that the starting point for employers is to establish a written policy setting forth the rules that the employer expects employees to follow. For example, an employer may state that legal marijuana use outside the workplace (like alcohol use) is acceptable, so long as it does not impact the workplace or an employee’s performance.
Similarly, an employer could set forth a more stringent use banning the use even outside the workplace. Regardless, employers should also be mindful that marijuana remains illegal on a federal level and that employers who are subject to federal restrictions may have additional legal obligations to be aware of.
For now, employers can still prohibit marijuana use by employees both in and outside the workplace.
Employers should let employees know what the expectations are now. Employers should seek out legal guidance about how to craft their policies to meet the changing norms and to ensure that such policies withstand legal scrutiny.