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NACD Workshop Addresses Ongoing Cannabis Confusion

Do you know what your state laws are regarding marijuana use? Are you aware of the differences between marijuana, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD)? Have you been able to craft an effective workplace drug testing policy that can cope with the constantly changing legislation?

These were just some of the issues addressed during our recent virtual Regulatory Workshop on Cannabis and Workplace Safety.

Over the course of three days in April, the interactive workshop saw Faye Caldwell, Managing Partner of law firm Caldwell Everson, take a deep dive into the intricacies of cannabis legislation and what it means to our industry.

“Although marijuana is illegal under federal law, state rules vary and these are far from clear,” said Caldwell. Although most state laws protect employers’ rights to stop on-site cannabis use, these laws do not sufficiently protect them from the consequences of use during non-working hours.

Employers have never been under more pressure to ensure safety in the workplace – and with attitudes about cannabis changing constantly, this could be a potential minefield for the chemical distribution sector.

How should you address your employees’ use of marijuana outside of the workplace? What if staff have legitimate medical reasons to use it? If you suspect a staff member of being under the influence, what can be done? And how do you create a catchall policy to manage the situation?

Each day of the workshop provided an overview of the latest rulings, along with discussions about the complexities and nuances of federal and state legislation. There were also plenty of opportunities to participate in some enlightening question and answer sessions.

Cannabis law is evolving on almost a day-to-day basis which makes it extremely difficult to determine how best to implement company rules, understand the actions that can be taken, and enforce them properly.

Rules vary from state to state over whether marijuana is illegal or permitted for medical or recreational use, and this continues to cause a lot of confusion.

At the time of the start of the workshop on April 19, 2021, 35 states plus D.C and three U.S. territories had passed comprehensive medical marijuana laws. Meanwhile, 17 states, D.C., and two U.S. territories had recreational marijuana laws in place.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many legislators to shut down in 2020 but there has already been a lot of activity regarding cannabis legislation so far this year as everything starts to reopen. New Mexico, New York, and Virginia have all recently passed marijuana laws to become recreational states, Caldwell noted.

Caldwell left attendees to consider, “With even more proposed legislation expected in the coming months, there may still be significant changes to come.”

If you missed the workshop in April, you can catch up by requesting the recordings. NACD members and Affiliates can email us at atoma@nacd.com for more details.

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