Ohioans voted in favor of Issue 2, a significant change in the state’s legal landscape, with approximately 57 percent of voters supporting the measure. This decision legalizes the purchase, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older, along with the implementation of a 10% sales tax on these products sold at licensed dispensaries.
It’s essential to understand that initiated statutes, such as Issue 2, typically take effect 30 days after they pass. However, this is not an amendment to the state’s constitution but a state law, giving the legislature the authority to modify and refine it. Additionally, the newly established Division of Cannabis Control has nine months to work out the specifics, including regulations concerning the potency of marijuana sold in dispensaries and the licensing process for vendors.
What does this mean for employers? The law currently supports employers in maintaining a drug-free workplace by allowing them to:
- Prohibit employees from using, possessing, or distributing cannabis.
- Establish or maintain their drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy.
- Make employment decisions, including hiring, discharge, discipline, and taking “adverse employment action” against employees who use or possess marijuana.
- Consider an employee discharged for “just cause” if their employment is terminated due to cannabis use.
Given these developments, we recommend that employers take a cautious approach. It’s a good time to stay informed about potential policy or testing adjustments/clarifications as the law takes effect. In the meantime, we encourage you to clarify and communicate your organization’s stance on medical marijuana if you haven’t done so already. It’s important to note that medical marijuana and adult-use legalization are separate issues, each requiring thoughtful consideration.
To further assist you in navigating these changes, Rea & Associates will be hosting a future webinar on this topic. We’ll provide in-depth insights and expert advice on how to adapt your workplace policies to remain compliant and effective in this evolving landscape.
If you have any questions or need assistance in ensuring your policies align with the changing environment, please don’t hesitate to contact the Rea HR consulting team. We are here to support you through these transitions and ensure that your workplace remains a safe and compliant environment.
Thank you for placing your trust in Rea & Associates as your consulting firm. We look forward to assisting you with best practices. Stay tuned for updates, and we hope to see you at our upcoming webinar on the same topic.
By Renee West (New Philadelphia)
Disclaimer: Rea & Associates does not provide legal advice and shares best practices only. We do not make management decisions for organizations.