Tuesday, May 7, 2024

For Ohio employers, it doesn't matter what the DEA says about marijuana

News recently broke that the DEA intends to reclassify cannabis from a Scheule I drug to a Schedule III drug. That reclassification would permit health care providers to legally prescribe cannabis for medicinal uses.

As a result of this reclassification, employers would likely inherit a legal obligation under the ADA to reasonably accommodate an employee's use of legally prescribed marijuana. It would no different that the use of any other Schedule III drug (e.g., ketamine or codeine) — you have to accommodate its use off duty but not employees' impairments on duty.

BUT … check your state law. 

Just because the DEA's rescheduling of marijuana may require a reasonable accommodation under federal disability discrimination laws does not mean the same holds true under your state law.

Take Ohio, for example. Medical marijuana has been legal in the Buckeye State since 2016, but employers have zero legal obligation to accommodation its use.

Our state medical marijuana law does not require an employer to "permit or accommodate an employee's use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana," nor does it prohibit an employer from "taking an adverse employment action against a person … because of that person's use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana."

While the DEA's announcement is big news that should not be discounted, depending on your state-specific marijuana laws, it may not make that much of a difference inside your workplaces.