DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Ohio will soon have legal recreational cannabis, but what that means for employers and employees is not fully understood.
“We’re stepping into a somewhat new space for employers and even employees. There’re so many unknowns. There’s going to be so many legal challenges in the days ahead,” said John Davis, associate vice president of human resources at Cedarville University.
Legal experts say Issue 2’s passing does not give employees a free pass to go to work under the influence of marijuana. Many employers have a zero-tolerance policy regardless of the law.
“An employer can still fundamentally control its workplace, Issue 2 does not require an employer to accommodate an employee straight away,” said David Pierce, labor and employment attorney at Coolidge Wall. “Employers are still able to act upon any information to discipline employees who are using marijuana. And they can even refuse to hire employees who use marijuana.”
Davis says the key to understanding the different aspects involving marijuana in the workplace begins with having conversations.
“If good leaders aren’t setting up and thinking about how they put those boundaries in place, you know, good leaders should be having good conversations right now about how those boundaries around drug usage will ultimately support the mission of the work they’re trying to do,” said Davis.
Issue 2 was ‘The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’ initiative, and legal experts say Ohioans should expect employees and employers do exactly that.
“If you’re over 21 years of age, and even if it’s legal for you to consume alcohol, showing up for work drunk, it’s never a good idea. And the same goes for marijuana. Just because it might be legal to possess it does not entitle you to show up intoxicated. Whether it’s with alcohol or marijuana,” said Pierce.
The initiated statute of Issue 2 goes into effect on Dec. 7, 30 days after passage. However, changes to the law could still be made as Ohio lawmakers have the right to modify the law.