MORE Than Meets the Eye? How Federal Marijuana Legalization Legislation Could Affect Employers

Roughly a month in the past, the U.S. Home of Consultant voted to go the Marijuana Alternative Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which decriminalizes marijuana underneath federal legislation. Most notably, the MORE Act would take away marijuana as a “scheduled” drug underneath the Managed Substances Act (CSA). The proposed MORE Act additionally addresses different marijuana-related subjects, reminiscent of taxes, denial of federal public advantages as a consequence of marijuana use, and protections for hashish companies. As defined beneath, the MORE Act might deliver change for employers.

This isn’t the first time the MORE Act has headed to the Senate. In 2019, a earlier model of the invoice was launched as the first piece of federal laws to suggest eradicating marijuana from the CSA schedule. That invoice handed the Home by a 228-164 vote, largely alongside social gathering strains. Finally, that model didn’t progress any additional. The invoice was revised and reintroduced in mid-2021. After numerous amendments, the present model handed in the Home, receiving a 220-204 vote, once more largely alongside social gathering strains. Now, it’s the Senate’s flip to vote.

All of this begs a query: If marijuana is faraway from the CSA, what might this imply for employers?

Present Situations

As of now, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means that it’s unlawful underneath federal legislation. Because of this, the People with Disabilities Act, additionally a federal legislation, takes the place that people who’re utilizing marijuana, even for a medical objective, will not be “disabled” as a result of they’re partaking in an criminal activity. Due to this fact, the ADA doesn’t defend medical marijuana customers, and you should still terminate staff who fail a drug check for marijuana, have marijuana on their individuals at work, or are underneath the affect of marijuana whereas on the job, regardless (typically) of what state legislation says.

Nevertheless, 37 states at the moment permit medical marijuana use, and this battle between federal and state legislation has created confusion for a lot of. Whereas state legislation might legalize marijuana for medical functions, it’s nonetheless an unlawful drug underneath federal legislation, so employers are typically free to proceed prohibiting and disciplining for marijuana.

If the MORE Act turns into legislation, all of that will be topic to vary. Though it is going to all rely on what the remaining legislation seems to be like, marijuana would now not be an unlawful drug underneath federal legislation, and the People with Disabilities Act’s strategy on marijuana use might change. If this variation happens, you could wish to take into account some coverage adjustments. 

Takeaways

If the Senate passes the MORE Act, it will solely want the president’s approval, to grow to be legislation, which is anticipated. Keep tuned to see how the Senate will vote — passage would require all Democrats and 10 Republicans to vote for the invoice. Till then, keep in mind that marijuana continues to be unlawful underneath federal legislation, and verify your state legislation for any legalization necessities.  

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