Recreational marijuana use was made legal in Connecticut nearly a year ago. Now, starting on July 1st, the work-related provisions of the state’s marijuana law will go into effect. According to these workplace-related provisions, employers are required to have an updated drug-free workplace policy. This policy must include rules that govern pre-employment drug testing as well as accommodations for employees that have medical marijuana cards. Additionally, the law does allow employees to sue employers who allegedly violate this law.
These new provisions limit an employer’s ability to penalize a job applicant or employee for a positive marijuana test. Although the law does contain a lot of protections for employers. Employers just need to remember that marijuana is now a legal drug that has the ability to impair, such as alcohol.
There are a number of industries that are exempt from this law, such as manufacturing and construction. Additionally, the law does not apply to firefighters, police, jobs that have been funded by federal grants, jobs for which federal funding is required, jobs in which the driver is required by law to be tested for drugs, or jobs that the employer determines could adversely affect the health and safety of the public or employees.
One Connecticut state representative has been an opponent of the law and believes that this law will bring safety issues to the workplace, such as in fast-food restaurants where deep fryers are used. She stated that there are many jobs that can’t be done while stoned and that several groups, such as the chiefs of police, pediatrics, and AAA, also believe this law is a bad idea. She is also concerned about the difficulty employers will have learning the new rules that are a part of the law, which is 300 pages long.
The Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis Act allows adults who are 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana or as much as 5 ounces locked in their home or the glove compartment of their car. There are many applicants trying to obtain licenses to grow, sell, and transport marijuana now that it is legal.
Connecticut employers should make sure they create or update their drug and alcohol policies. They should also become familiar with the new workplace-related provisions that will take effect on July 1, 2022. However, they should remember that the new provisions do not mean that employees are allowed to show up to work impaired.
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