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  • Writer's pictureJennie Tannenbaum

Totally Baked: Recreational Marijuana in the Workplace

As an employer you have may have just changed your zero tolerance drug policy concerning medicinal marijuana to comply with Massachusetts law. If you’re reading this and thinking, “What … no we haven’t changed it,” then there’s no time to waste and you should do it sooner rather than later.

For those of you who have changed your drug policy, you might be thinking, “Okay, we’re ready for those marijuana issues and set to go,” don’t think your due diligence is completed just yet. You should know that in 2016 voters in Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana effective December 15, 2016. Sales didn’t become legal until the state licensed pot retailers to sell and that didn’t happen right away. The first legal retail sale was this past November.

You’re probably wondering what now, because you will be facing new and uncharted workplace situations and issues, resulting from the legalization of recreational marijuana. A big question on your mind might be, so I’ve made a job offer to an applicant pending a drug test, how does a positive marijuana drug test from recreational use impact that offer?

It’s no surprise that any recreational use on the job is not protected by the law. Off duty recreational use of marijuana for job applicants and employees is not protected at this time in Massachusetts yet. There’s a bill (bill no. 978) pending in the legislature that would make it unlawful for employers to fail to hire, fire employees or impose a term or condition of employment, as a result, of marijuana used off duty as long as the employee was not performing tasks related to their work. Employees must not be impaired at work from the off duty use or while performing tasks related to work.

It’s a good idea to review your company’s drug policy in light of this information. Stay tuned for a future piece about rethinking your drug testing for marijuana and the implications on the current job market.

This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to be construed as legal advice. If you are interested in discussing this topic further, you may contact me at or at 978-681-0017.

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