Advisen Risk Network Quotes James Shore on Confusion Over New Regulations from Marijuana Legalization

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Partner James Shore was quoted at the Advisen Risk Network in an article titled “Employees and Employers Left Dazed and Confused by Marijuana Use.” The article discusses how in the wake of the passage in several states of laws legalizing the medical and, in a few cases, recreational use of marijuana, organizations need to consider the effects of following the new laws, with regard to respecting employees’ freedoms while maintaining safe, drug-free workplaces.

Several recent court cases attempt to clarify the impact of the slew of regulations that have arisen as a result of the new laws. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state’s medicinal marijuana laws do not require employers to accommodate an employee’s medical marijuana use or negate its drug-free workplace laws. The Colorado Supreme Court heard a case concerning an employee terminated for testing positive for marijuana use, raising the question: can an employee be fired for doing something legal under his state’s laws–in this case using medical marijuana—on his or her own time?

Shore said that the deciding factor may prove to be that courts are unwilling to rule to allow state laws to stand when they contradict still-standing federal bans on marijuana. “They’re not going to create a public policy that protects an employee from discipline for an activity that is illegal under federal law,” he said. “They’re just not comfortable going there.”

Read “Employees and Employers Left Dazed and Confused by Marijuana Use,” published October 9, 2014. (Subscription required.)

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