Cannabis Use in the Workplace: Is it Legal?

Alcoholic beverages have long been associated with the workplace, from beer busts for staff to mixed drinks in the boss’ office. But what about cannabis? Now that it’s legal either as a “recreational” or “medical” drug in 39 of the 50 US states, is it ok to be stoned at work?

In California, where it is fully legal, “Employers are not required to accommodate medical or recreational marijuana use in the workplace. Employers may fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even if the use was off duty and for a medical condition with a valid medical marijuana card,” according to Sachi Clements, anattorney at nolo.com who wrote an article on the subject.

This a stricter rule than the one for alcohol: Employers are legally allowed to have a zero-tolerance policy for using alcohol in the workplace, but apparently, that doesn’t extend to worker being drunk off-the-job. 

Now that working from home is commonplace for many industries, what constitutes the workplace?

Lawmakers haven’t caught up to this trend to formalize the rules, but if your employer can fire you for using pot off duty, presumably they can also fire you for being stoned on the next Zoom call, or even while you are quietly working at home.

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