Marijuana Legalization Rundown: New Legislation Across Several States

CANNANNEW REPORT

[co-author: América Garza] There has been a recent flurry of movement – both in the courts and in state legislatures – on the marijuana law front across several states. As we previously reported, on February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed three separate cannabis reform bills into law (NJ A21, NJ A 1897, and NJ A5342/NJ S3454), formally legalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana in the Garden State. The new laws contain express workplace-related provisions that impact New Jersey employers by establishing non-discrimination rules for recreational cannabis users or marijuana users, codifying that employers do not have a duty to accommodate cannabis use in the workplace, and establishing procedures for employee drug testing. The laws’ employment provisions were effective immediately, but they do not become operative until the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (“CRC”) adopts implementing regulations. As we have also reported, on March 31, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing recreational cannabis in the state of New York, effective immediately. Among the many changes that this new legislation brought were amendments to and expansion of New York’s lawful off-duty conduct law to protect cannabis use by employees when they are not on the job. This statewide change follows New York City’s April 2019 ban on pre-employment cannabis testing, which deems screening for marijuana or THC as a condition of employment to be an unlawful discriminatory practice, with limited exceptions. Other jurisdictions are catching up to the marijuana law frenzy. From East Coast to the South, Midwest, and Southwest, state lawmakers have legalized cannabis and restricted employers from making employment decisions based on employees’ and prospective employees’ use of marijuana. Here’s a round-up of the most recent developments: New Laws Alabama On May 17, 2021, Alabama Governor Ivey signed the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act (“Hall Act”). Named in honor of the…

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