Seyfarth Synopsis: In the first six months of 2021, several states legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, including New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Mexico.  States show no signs of slowing down.  On June 22, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill that legalized recreational marijuana use by adults 21 years and older.  Although provisions relating to possession are effective now (as of July 1, 2021), the employment-related provisions are not effective until July 1, 2022.  Because the new law will prohibit many employers from taking certain actions in the absence of clear policies addressing marijuana use or evidence of impairment, Connecticut employers that do not have written drug and alcohol testing policies should consider developing them in the near future and those companies that have policies in place should review and, if necessary, revise their current drug and alcohol testing policies.  In addition, all employers should consider training their managers on making reasonable suspicion determinations.

Can employers still maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace?

Yes.  Employers do not have to tolerate employees being under the influence of marijuana while they are working and they may prohibit employees from using and possessing marijuana during work hours and while performing their job duties or on company premises.  However, employers still must be mindful of the state law protections currently available to medical marijuana users including, among other things, not taking adverse action or otherwise discriminating against someone based solely on their status as a qualifying medical marijuana patient or their possession of medical marijuana.


Continue Reading Connecticut Becomes the 20th Jurisdiction to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Recently, when dismissing a job-applicant’s disability discrimination claims brought under California state law, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued two welcome reminders to employers.  First, an employer can condition an offer of employment on the completion of a preemployment drug screen, including a test for marijuana. This is true even

On April 28, 2021, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed Bill No. 200625 which, effective January 1, 2022, prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment. Currently, only New York City and Nevada have similar drug testing restrictions, but we expect this trend to continue.

Big Takeaways

Recently, when dismissing a former employee’s claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the District of Connecticut issued two welcome reminders to employers. First, to set out an ADA disability discrimination claim, a plaintiff must allege that the employer was aware of the plaintiff’s disability. Second, and just as important, the ADA does not provide protection against discrimination based solely on medical marijuana use or require accommodation of medical marijuana use (although state laws may provide some protections).

Case Summary

In Eccleston v. City of Waterbury, Case 19-cv-1614 (D. Conn. Mar. 22, 2021), Plaintiff was a firefighter for the City of Waterbury.  According to the Complaint, in 2017, Plaintiff was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff informed his battalion chief that he was thinking of applying for a medical marijuana card. Plaintiff was told that doing so “would not be a good idea.” Even so, Plaintiff obtained a marijuana card in January 2018. Critically, when talking to his battalion chief, Plaintiff did not mention his PTSD diagnosis, or that he sought a medical marijuana card for the purpose of treating a purported disabling condition.


Continue Reading Firefighter’s Federal Disability Claims Based on Pot Use Snuffed Out by Connecticut District Court

TBT readers are invited to join Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s upcoming webinar, “High Times in NJ: New Recreational Marijuana Law Limits Employers’ Options to Prevent Impairment.”

Register here

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

Thursday, April 8, 2021
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central
11:00 a.m.

Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, more and more states and localities are either enacting marijuana laws with express employment protections or resolving court cases in favor of marijuana users. Yet, more than a decade ago, the California Supreme Court held in Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm., Inc.,

Recognizing that state medical and recreational marijuana laws are sweeping the nation, and that a recent survey reflected that nearly half of surveyed American adults have used marijuana, the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memorandum regarding “Assessing the Suitability/Fitness of Applicants or Appointees on the Basis of Marijuana

New Jersey recently enacted a law permitting personal, nonmedical use of marijuana for individuals age 21 and over. Separate laws decriminalize marijuana and hashish possession and set out the penalties when individuals under age 21 use or possess marijuana or hashish. Although not immediately enforceable, New Jersey employers should immediately assess the implications of the

As more states legalize cannabis, growth in job opportunities rises. However, with more jobs, the greater the risk of employment related lawsuits at the hiring stage. While there are a host of issues cannabis companies need to consider at the hiring stage (i.e. background checks, policies, benefits, payroll, etc.), this blog post focuses on salary