By:  Amy Epstein Gluck

No, I’m not talking about the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and then film where girl chooses between two boys. I’m talking about marijuana. Medical marijuana.

Oklahoma recently became the latest state to enact a medical marijuana law. The relevance from an employment law standpoint is that employers can no longer take an adverse action against applicants (i.e., fail to hire) or employees (e.g., terminate), solely based on their status as a medical marijuana license holder or due to a positive drug test result.

The new law also makes it much easier for physicians to prescribe medical marijuana, so chances are, you will be dealing with some accommodation requests in your workplaces.

It officially takes effects on July 26, 2018, but, for all intents and purposes, employers, you want to get ready for it now.

Welcome, Oklahoma, as you join New York, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, and Nevada, to name a few, which all have laws that contain explicit anti-discrimination provisions protecting employees who are medical marijuana cardholders.

Employer Takeaways

These are similar to what I told you here about medical marijuana concerns in the workplace:

  • HR: time to assess and likely revise those employee handbooks and then ensure they are disseminated to your employees so they are aware of this protection.
  • Consider whether you need to initiate the interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation.
  • Interrogating a medical marijuana user about her (or him) disability before firing her may give rise to a viable disability discrimination claim. We’ve seen that where the disability (as opposed to the medical marijuana use) motivates the employment action, that could constitute discrimination based on a disability pursuant to state law.