Legalized Marijuana in Rhode Island ‎Presents New Challenges ‎for Employers

Legalized Marijuana in Rhode Island ‎Presents New Challenges ‎for Employers

On Tuesday, May 24, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation legalizing the ‎recreational use of marijuana. The bill will become law upon the signature of Governor Dan McKee, ‎which is expected. Recreational cannabis could be available for public sale in Rhode Island as soon ‎as late 2022. For Rhode Island employers, this new legislation creates some immediate challenges, ‎and also provides some key protections. Employers will need to move quickly to implement policies ‎and procedures, and to educate their workforce.‎ Mark Freel First and foremost, the law makes clear that employers do not have to tolerate the use or possession ‎of marijuana in the workplace, or anyone working under the influence of marijuana. Those aspects of ‎the statute apply with equal force to employees working remotely, outside of their employer’s place of ‎business. Employers are free to impose discipline, including termination, on employees who violate ‎workplace policies on marijuana use or who work while under the influence of cannabis.‎ Employers may not take any disciplinary action against employees solely for their private, lawful use ‎of cannabis outside the workplace, but there are two important exceptions to this general rule. First, if ‎the employer is a federal contractor and is required by the terms of any applicable federal contract or ‎regulation to prohibit the use of marijuana by its workforce, the employer can impose necessary ‎limitations on its employees if doing so is necessary to protect the benefit of a federal contract or ‎license. Employers working pursuant to federal contracts or licenses will need to review all such ‎requirements and implement such policies with their employees promptly.‎ Second, if an employee’s job involves what the statute calls “work that is hazardous, dangerous or ‎essential to public welfare and safety,” then the employer can implement policies that prohibit the use ‎or…

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Source : Legalized Marijuana in Rhode Island ‎Presents New Challenges ‎for Employers

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