Medical marijuana has been problematic for a lot of employers both in New Jersey and in other states. Many employers have been forced to reconsider their strong anti-drug policies that prohibited employees from using marijuana (among other illicit drugs) even while they were off the clock.
Now, however, “marijuana as medicine” is causing a shift in attitudes — and employees are starting to demand the right to treat their painful and debilitating medical problems with medical marijuana the same way that they might opioids and other legally prescribed drugs.
Now, the state’s highest court has weighed in on the issue. According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, employees are entitled to use medical marijuana as-needed when they’re off the clock — and they can’t be summarily dismissed for doing it. This offers dramatic new protections for thousands of employees (or more) who use cannabis and cannabis products to treat various medical conditions.
This creates a quandary for some employers. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a “high,” remains behind in a user’s body long after the high has worn off. In regular users, it can remain detectable for months. A drug test won’t tell an employer whether an employee who uses marijuana was using it on the job or on their own time — but employees can no longer be fired for medical marijuana use that doesn’t negatively affect their job performance.
It’s smart to know your rights as an employee these days — particularly where marijuana use is concerned. Many employers will ignore the laws and protections extended to their employees anytime that they can. If your employee rights are violated, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible.