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Business Owners: Having Employees With Medical Marijuana Cards Can Be Challenging

By August 1, 2022Insurance

Marijuana has been legalized in many states over the past few years. Medical marijuana has become even more prevelant due to the benefits it provides certain medical conditions. As different areas of marijuana are legalized a lot of red tape and laws follow it.

As marijuana is legalized and more of the public obtain medical marijuana cards, a lot of legal gray areas appear. Most of those gray areas are seen by business owners. Others are also seen by individuals.

The Challenge Of Having A Medical Marijuana Card

When having a medical marijuana card you are able to treat your medical condition which is excellent. Some unforseen draw backs and challenges in having a medical marijuana card is barriers in the workplace, or having difficulty proving you are not under the influence of medical marijuana.
When would you have to prove you were not under the influence of medical marijuana? If you are in a car accident or being held liable for damages, one of the ways a lawsuit may try to place the blame on you is by indicating you were impaired. The challenge with marijuana is it cannot be determined whether it is actively in your system in a way that impairs you. Simply put, a drug screening indicates whether it has been in your system recently.
This liability issue is what causes problems for business owners as well.

The Challenge Of Having Employees That Utilize Medical Marijuana

There are a few challenges to having employees that use medical marijuana. There are the legal restrictions for you as an employer while there are also the liability issues that can arise from it.
These issues are most prevalent today simply because the laws surrounding medical marijuana and employment have not caught up. As trials are held and the court system works out the gray areas regarding where the end liability falls, the law will catch up and fill the gaps. We can then know where the line is and advise you more clearly.

Note: Not Legal Or Professional Advice

Know that this is not legal advice, it is simply what we have observed to be the present situation regarding medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. We look forward to when this situation is more clear and can be advised with clarity and historic information.

Hiring & Firing Employees With A Medical Marijuana Card

It is more difficult to not hire and to fire employees with medical marijuana cards. Why? Legally you cannot do the following.

PA Act 16:

“No employer may 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.”

While this law makes sense to protect employees, you as an employer have to be very cautious about how you hire or fire employees with medical marijuana cards. You need to have clear cause that cannot be related back to their medical marijuana card. What makes this challenging is on the insurance side, you cannot have employees operating heavy machinery or performing certain work tasks that could be compromised by being impaired by marijuana.

Insurance And Medical Marijuana Employees

As mentioned above there are challenges with having medical marijuana cards. What can happen is something goes wrong and a question of liability arises. Whether it be about an employee driving a company vehicle and getting into an accident or a work accident occuring. No matter the problem or issue that occurs, someone needs to take the blame.
This is where the challenge of having an employee who uses medical marijuana. While your employee may not be under the influence of any drugs at the time, the drug test can be used to try to create a reasonable doubt.

How The Law Will Develop Around Medical Marijuana

This is where the law has not adapted fast enough to make clear decisions on this area. The goal and purpose of the law is to protect people. The laws developed will help protect both business owners and employees a like.

Get Insurance Through Strickler Insurance

No matter the outcomes of employees with medical marijuana cards, we know your business needs insurance to protect itself from the unknown. Contact strickler insurance for advice on your business and the insurance you need.