HR Insights for Health Care

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A Midterm to Remember and Introducing “Marijuana in the Workplace: Legal Issues for Employers to Consider”

Posted on November 9, 2018 in HR Insights for Health Care

Published by: Hall Render

The November 6, 2018 midterm elections will be remembered for a lot of things, including the wave of marijuana legalization that followed after polls closed.

A majority of voters in Utah and Missouri endorsed ballot initiatives that legalized the medicinal use of marijuana in both states.

Michigan, for its part, became the first Midwest state, and the 10th state in the country (including Washington, D.C.), to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, 55 percent of voters in the Great Lakes State cast ballots authorizing Proposal 1, which establishes the recreational use, possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana for adults 21 years and older.

Passage of initiatives such as Michigan’s Proposal 1 is evidence that the legalization of marijuana is no longer a partisan issue. This is largely driven by an overall shift in views about marijuana nationwide. A 2017 Gallup poll revealed that 64 percent of the country believes marijuana should be made legal—the highest level of public support Gallup found in nearly a half-century of measurement. Additionally, the November 7, 2018 resignation of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions—long-time marijuana opponent who rescinded the Obama-era “hands off” policy on marijuana—was followed by a spike in stocks for marijuana companies. For example, Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis rose 8.1 percent and 9 percent, respectively, on the same day Sessions’ resignation was announced while Tilray, a marijuana production company based in Canada, closed up 30 percent.

From a legislative and regulatory standpoint, a lot is happening in the marijuana and marijuana derivative (e.g., CBD oil) space. We expect a lot more will continue to happen.

For that reason, over the next few months, we will publish a series of blog articles titled “Marijuana in the Workplace: Legal Issues for Employers to Consider.” The series will cover legal implications related to emerging marijuana trends and highlight key takeaways for employers when dealing with marijuana and CBD in the workplace.

Stay tuned. . . .

If you have any questions or would like additional information about this topic, please contact:

Special thanks to Victoire Iradukunda, law clerk, for her assistance with this article.