On May 29, 2020, the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of an employee’s lawsuit against his former employer after it terminated him for refusing to submit to a reasonable suspicion drug test, even though his “bizarre” behavior could have been attributed to other causes. As employers are becoming increasingly concerned about marijuana use in

On January 17, 2020, Hawaii Senators Rosalyn Baker (D) and Brian Taniguchi (D) introduced Senate Bill 2543, which proposes to provide employment protections to job applicants and employees who use medical cannabis. If enacted, Hawaii would join the growing number of states to pass similar laws.

Specifically, the most recent version of the bill

Marijuana (cannabis) remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. And, more than a decade ago, the California Supreme Court held in Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm., Inc., that employers have the right to reject an applicant who tests positive for medical cannabis. Since that time, California employers have enjoyed

In a recent decision, Palmiter v. Commonwealth Health Systems, the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas held that: (a) the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (“MMA”) creates a private right of action for wrongful termination; and, alternatively, (b) an employee who claims to have been terminated for medical marijuana use authorized under the MMA can bring a claim of wrongful termination in violation of public policy.  This Pennsylvania court now joins courts in several other states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, which have allowed adverse action claims against employers by employees or applicants who used medical marijuana under state law.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Court Allows Medical Pot User To Proceed With Wrongful Termination Suit

In 2016, Pennsylvania enacted its “Medical Marijuana Act” (MMA), which permits individuals suffering from certain conditions to use marijuana for medicinal use. Several provisions in the MMA impact employers. For instance, the MMA makes it unlawful for an employer to “discharge, threaten, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use medical marijuana.” In other words, taking adverse action against an employee based solely on the individual’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder would likely be considered discrimination under the MMA.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act at Issue in Recently Filed Complaint

On November 18, 2019, Florida Senator Lori Berman (D) introduced Senate Bill 962, which proposes to provide job applicants and employees who use medical marijuana various protections in employment. If enacted, Florida would join the growing number of states to pass laws with similar protections, including most recently in Illinois.
Continue Reading Florida Senator Introduces Bill Providing Broad Employment Protections to Medical Marijuana Users

The Western District of New York, in Horn v. Medical Marijuana, Inc., et al., issued an initial procedural order last week in a case where the plaintiff’s purchase and use of the defendant products resulted in a failed drug test that resulted in his employer terminating his employment.  Horn v. Medical Marijuana, Inc., et

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit last week in the D.C. Superior Court on behalf of Doretha Barber, a sanitation worker with the D.C. Department of Public Works, who claims that she was denied reasonable accommodation and placed on an indefinite leave of absence after disclosing that she is a medical marijuana card-holder under the District’s medical marijuana program.  Specifically, Ms. Barber alleges that she suffers from degenerative disc disease which causes her debilitating back pain and for which she was recently prescribed medical marijuana for off-duty use only.  When Ms. Barber requested a temporary transfer to a clerical position during the fall leaf raking season as an accommodation of her disability, she was purportedly denied the transfer, and after she disclosed that she possessed a medical marijuana card, she was allegedly placed on an unpaid leave of absence and told that she could not resume her duties as a sanitation worker until she successfully passed a drug test (which she would inevitably fail due to her medical marijuana use) because she was working in a “safety sensitive position.”
Continue Reading D.C. Sees Latest Test Case for Employees Seeking “Reasonable Accommodation” for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use

A New Jersey appellate court recently concluded in Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc. (reported in our blog here) that even though New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (the Act) did not “require … an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace,” it also did not “immunize an employer’s obligation already imposed elsewhere” — such as in discrimination statutes. On July 2, 2019, a few months after that decision, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill that amends the Act’s employment provisions to not only clear up previously unanswered questions but also to create additional compliance obligations for employers. The amended law takes effect immediately.
Continue Reading New Jersey Governor Clears the Medical Cannabis Haze