from Fast Company
As more states legalize or move toward legalizing medicinal or recreational cannabis, many may assume that they’re free to partake in accordance with the law. But, for employees, smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana could possibly lead to disciplinary action or termination by your employer—even if you get high on your own time.
According to the National Cannabis Industry Association, 33 states have laws legalizing medical cannabis, and 11 of those also have legalized recreational use. But, even if it’s legal at the state level, federal law still prohibits cannabis use. That can lead to complicated compliance issues, especially for companies that need to meet certain federal requirements for their contracts.
“Let’s say you’re a truck driver and your employer’s required to abide by Department of Transportation regulations. We’ve got this kind of crossover and interplay that employees and employers have to be mindful of, in terms of how the federal law and the state laws intersect,” says Melissa Ferrara, a labor and employment attorney at Reed Smith and a member of the law firm’s cannabis team. Employers may also be fearful of liability if an employee has an accident or safety issue and then has a positive drug test.