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Medical marijuana regulation in workplace top of mind for advocates, patients

Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly available. That means more people need to be aware...
Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly available. That means more people need to be aware of their workplace policies, which vary from one state to another.(wsaw)
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 3:25 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Medical marijuana has become more widely available in Louisiana, especially since the legalization of the flower form.

With that increase in availability, medical marijuana patients have to be wary of their workplace policies.

“It’s up to the employers; and a lot of times, people are afraid to ask their employers,” said Kate Callahan, of The Healing Clinics.

Many companies have strict, zero-tolerance policies regarding marijuana use. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “some state statutes specifically provide workplace protections —particularly for registered medical marijuana patients — and other state statutes make clear that employers do not have to accommodate any marijuana use, even when it’s off duty.”

On the flip side, many people agree that employees should not be under the influence at work. Callahan explained that patients may use cannabis at home but still test positive for the drug days or weeks later.

“I think it’s good that we have safe work spaces and allow people to take their medicines,” she said. “I think that if it becomes more federally legal, we’ll be looking more into [time-sensitive testing options].”

Louisiana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, does not provide medical cannabis anti-discrimination employee protection. That means policies are at the discretion of employers.

Federal employees who live in Louisiana can be terminated if they test positive for marijuana.

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