New Jersey Amends Medical Marijuana Law to Include Protections for Employees and Employers

New Jersey Amends Medical Marijuana Law to Include Protections for Employees and Employers

Workers are now protected from ‘adverse employment action’ for being medical marijuana users, but employers can prohibit cannabis use at the workplace.

Earlier this month, New Jersey became the latest state to adopt legislation granting greater protections for medical cannabis users. In addition, the amendments Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on July 2 provide clearer standards for employers when it comes to enforcing their own marijuana policies.

The original version of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, which was enacted in 2009, did not address employment protections beyond not requiring an employer to “accommodate” the medical use of marijuana in any workplace, according to employment law firm Fisher Phillips.

But, thanks to outside pressure and a March court decision that allowed medical marijuana users to sue employers for disability discrimination, the new law explicitly provides employee protections for medical use.

Renamed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, the legislation deletes the old language from the 2009 version and introduces two new provisions. Employers are now prohibited from taking any “adverse employment action” against workers who are registered qualifying patients, meaning that the individuals have been authorized by a health care provider to use medical marijuana and have registered with the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Employees and job applicants are also given the right to explain positive drug test results. An employer must give the employee a written notice of the right to explain and three working days to present evidence that they have an authorization for medical cannabis from a health care practitioner, have registered with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission or both. The individual can also request a retest of the original sample at their own expense.

In addition to the employee protections, the law also empowers employers to prohibit (or not prohibit) employees from possessing or taking use of intoxicating substances “during work hours or on the premises of the workplace outside of work hours,” according to Fisher Phillips. Businesses are also not required to commit to any policy that would cause them to be in violation of federal law or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or funding.

Outside of the provisions explicitly addressing cannabis use in the workplace, the law also included broader changes that will likely affect workers and their employers. The act increased the number of qualifying illnesses for marijuana use, including seizure disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, cancer, chronic pain and more, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The amendments also allow physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to prescribe medical cannabis instead of only doctors.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • The 4 Stages of an Incident Investigation

    So, your workplace has just experienced an incident resulting in the injury or illness of a worker. Now what? OSHA recommends that you conduct investigations of workplace incidents using a four-step system.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

Free Whitepaper

Stand Your Ground: A Guide to Slip Resistance in Industrial Safety Footwear

This white paper helps to clarify this complexity, so you can better navigate the standards and better ensure the safety of your employees.

Download Now →

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2019

    November/December 2019

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      Redefining Compliance for the Gas Detection Buyer
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Don't Trip Over the Basics
    • VISION PROTECTION
      What to Look for in Head-to-Toe PPE Solutions
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Effective PPE for Flammable Dust
    View This Issue