On June 8, 2016, Ohio became the 25th state to adopt a medical marijuana law.  The law became effective on September 8, 2016.  However, due to the licensure of cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries, the registration of patients, and the certification of physicians, the law will take at least a year to fully implement.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation created a bulletin titled “Medical Marijuana and Its Impact on BWC.” The document briefly describes portions of the law impacting workers’ compensation and provides some guidance for employers.

It also specifically states that “the best way employers can protect their workers and themselves is to establish a drug-free workplace, or, if they already have one, to review and update it if necessary.”  To view the document, please click on the link below.

Employers should carefully review and update their drug testing policies and procedures, specifically as it relates to medical marijuana.  Employers, if they so desire, should revise their drug testing policies to make clear that, despite Ohio’s new law, medical marijuana is still a prohibited substance under federal law and thus does not require an employer to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession or distribution of medical marijuana.  All changes to employer drug testing policies and procedures should be clearly communicated to all employees.

Should you have specific questions on how the new law could impact your company’s Drug Free Safety Program, please contact your Employer Services Specialist (ESS) at the Youngstown Service Office.