Employers should anticipate changes since Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016.
Legal marijuana is reported to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S.—its growth and size are now on par with other well-established businesses. It is no wonder that Ohio has now joined at least 28 other states that have legalized some form of marijuana. The new Ohio law, signed in September 2016, stipulated that the program be ready to service Ohio residents on September 8, 2018.
So what does this mean for Ohio employers and their drug-free workplace policies?
Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program
On September 6, 2016, Ohio legalized medical marijuana with the passage of House Bill 523. This law authorizes Ohio licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to individuals diagnosed with one of 20 qualifying conditions or diseases. The law strictly limits medical marijuana use to only consumable oils, edibles, patches and vaping; smoking marijuana is still prohibited.
Although the new law states that Ohio authorities will not prosecute marijuana users with a valid doctor recommendation, there is still no guarantee that users will be free from federal prosecution. This conflict between the federal law and a growing number of state laws is likely to remain a conundrum and a real risk for medical marijuana uses for the foreseeable future.