A friendly reminder to employers that provisions of Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis statute concerning the use of cannabis in the workplace go into effect on July 1, 2022.  We published a detailed article about what the cannabis statute means for employers last year.  With the effective date of those provisions quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to ensure your policies are up to date.

As a refresher, the cannabis statute allows all employers to prohibit the use of cannabis in the workplace and to take adverse action against employees for using or possessing cannabis in the workplace or reporting to work under the influence, with limited exceptions for qualifying medical marijuana patients.

The statute divides employers into exempt and non-exempt categories, and designates certain exempt positions within otherwise non-exempt employers.  Exempt employers and positions are those that generally fall into the public health, safety, and education fields, including but not limited to: mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing, transportation or delivery, schools, healthcare or social services, national security and international affairs, firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and DOC employees in direct contact with inmates. The exempt/non-exempt categories control whether an employer needs a written policy to prohibit or take adverse employment action against employees who use cannabis outside of the workplace, or solely on the basis of a positive drug test. In addition, non-exempt employers cannot take adverse action against an employee solely because the employee used cannabis outside of the workplace before employment. Remember, your policies must be in writing and distributed to employees prior to the enactment of the policy.

All employers, regardless of exempt status, are wise to have a policy in place that states how the employer will handle (i) use of cannabis in the physical workplace, (ii) use of cannabis in the remote workplace, (iii) use of cannabis outside of the workplace, and (iv) drug testing employees.

There are some more nuanced rules for qualifying medical cannabis users and employees with disabilities who may use cannabis for treatment or prevention of certain medical conditions.

Employers should also keep in mind that employers must prohibit smoking and vaping in the workplace, including tobacco and cannabis products, in any building and outside of any building within 25 feet of any door, window, or air intake vent.  Employers may prohibit smoking on the premises entirely.

Be sure to consult with legal counsel if you have questions on how the cannabis provisions apply to your workforce.