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Pennsylvania Enacts a New Medical Marijuana Law

By Michael Klazema on 5/23/2016

On April 17, 2016, Pennsylvania passed the Medical Marijuana Act which legalizes the prescription and use of medical marijuana for individuals with a serious medical condition and establishes a medical marijuana program. The new marijuana act, effective May 17, 2016, includes antidiscrimination provisions and work exceptions for employers.

Section 2103 (B) states, “No employers 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 employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use marijuana.”

Employers may not allow an employee, who is under the influence of medical marijuana, to perform the following tasks:

1.    Operate or be in physical control of chemicals which requires a permit issued by the federal or state government agency;

2.    Work with high-voltage electricity or any other public utility;

3.    Perform any employment duties at heights or in confined spaces, including but not limited to mining, or

4.    Perform any duty which could result in a public health or safety risk.

Excluding an employee from these duties listed above is not an adverse employment decision, even if the prohibitions result in financial harm to the employee.

The act allows the employer to discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical marijuana in the workplace when the employee’s conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for the position. There is no requirement for the employer to make any accommodation of the use of medical marijuana on the property or premises of any place of employment.

Click the link below to view the act.
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/uconsCheck.cfm?yr=2016&sessInd=0&act=16

What this means to you

  • This applies to all employers in Pennsylvania.
  • The new act allows employers to discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical marijuana in the workplace when the employee’s conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for the position.
  • Restricting an employee under the influence of medical marijuana from performing four specified duties is not an adverse employment decision, even if the prohibition results in financial harm to the employee.
There is no requirement for employers to accommodate the use of medical marijuana on the property or premise of any place of employment.  

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