This week, I saw a story about a medical marijuana dispensary offering THC-infused slushies, reminding me the important issue of medical marijuana is alive and well and still changing, even though my attention has been focused on pandemics and related changes in regulations.
The news segment featured a nameless, faceless man talking about how he likes to stop for a THC-infused slushie on his way home from work to help him destress without the side effects of alcoholic intake. Of course, my HR certified mind started thinking about the implications of this…
- Is this employee charged with taking the mail to the post office on his way home? If so, did he stop for his yummy, thirst-quenching, relaxation potion before or after making the stop for the company?
- Is he driving a company vehicle?
- Is there a chance the employer could be liable if there were an accident between the dispensary and his home?
There are still so many unknowns concerning medical marijuana and the workforce. The breaking news on this topic in Oklahoma was more than a year ago. Since then, news of a pandemic and how to deal with emergency regulations has taken center stage, but medical marijuana is still as important as it was a year or two ago. While we are otherwise involved, there are more bills in the process to refine medical marijuana laws in a number of states.
I live and work in Oklahoma, so it’s an easy example for me to reference: in March of 2020, there were about 8 House Bills in the system waiting for votes. Any one of them represents multiple changes that could potentially affect employers and employees in our state.
It's enough to make you ask, "What can I do when so much is out of my control?"
The answer: GET BACK TO BASICS.
- Develop written policies.
- Train managers.
- Document behavior.
- Be consistent.
- Rinse and repeat.
Treat medical marijuana licenses the same as you would any other ADA item. It's a prescription. Treat it like any other prescription. Limit the exposure of the information to those with a “need to know” status.
In Oklahoma, for example, an employer cannot discriminate in considering candidates for a position unless the job for which the candidate has applied is classified as a safety-sensitive position or subject to DOL or some other qualified classification.
When Managing the Workforce…
Ensure you have written drug and alcohol testing policies that comply with your state laws. Policies should identify when the employer will test, such as pre-employment, post-accident or for cause/reasonable suspicion.
Train managers to document behaviors BEFORE testing. It’s much easier and more defensible to discipline for behaviors — not test results.
Discipline should be consistent with written policies.
Back to the Slushies
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is still reviewing the legality of THC-infused slushies, but have not threatened to prevent dispensaries from selling them.
Just as medical marijuana has evolved from buds to edibles, to concentrates, and now to THC-infused slushies, your company policies need to be reviewed and updated regularly. Whether or not you keep up with the changing times, you can be guaranteed your workforce is aware of the changes.
If you don’t know where to start or just don’t have time to develop and refine policies for your evolving workforce, CS3 Technology and CS3 Advisors are here to help.