Ohio Enacts New Medical Marijuana Law

September 14, 2016

Ohios new medical marijuana law went into effect on September 8, 2016. Ohio became the 26th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. The new law expressly addresses employment issues, resolving each of these issues clearly in favor of employers. Specifically, in Ohio:

  1. employers are not required to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana;
  2. employers are permitted to terminate or discipline an employee or refuse to hire an applicant based on the use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana;
  3. employers are permitted to establish and enforce a drug testing policy, a drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy;
  4. employers have "just cause," for purposes of unemployment compensation, to terminate an employee for use of medical marijuana in violation of the employer's drug-free workplace policy, zero-tolerance policy, or other applicable policy; and
  5. An employee is not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if the employee was under the influence of marijuana at the time of injury and the use of marijuana was the proximate cause of that injury. Employers may not, however, make employment decisions or take actions against an employee or applicant based on the individual’s underlying medical condition. Actions based on the underlying medical condition may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or corresponding state law.