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Ohio Issue 2 Election Results: Marijuana Legalized

Ohio Issue 2 Election Results: Marijuana Legalized

Medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio since 2016, but voters just approved Issue 2, which will allow adults 21 and older to buy, possess and grow marijuana. The measure is set to become part of Ohio's revised code in 30 days, although some state lawmakers are aiming to change those rules in the coming months. Until the law goes into effect, it’s not recommended to update and policies and procedures yet.

Ohio is the 24th state (states with similar regulations) to legalize recreational marijuana. Handling legal recreational marijuana use with your employees can be a complex and sensitive issue. The approach you take should depend on various factors, including your location, the nature of your business, and your company's policies and culture. 

Understanding the Landscape

  1. Know the Laws
    Stay informed about the laws and regulations surrounding recreational marijuana use in your jurisdiction. Given the variability in legislation across different locations, it's crucial to be aware of the specific regulations that apply to your business.
  2. Develop Clear Policies
    Craft and communicate clear company policies regarding marijuana use. Clearly outline your expectations for employee behavior, including whether marijuana use is permitted during work hours, on company premises, and before or after work. Consistency is key, so ensure these policies align with your company's culture and values.
  3. Be Consistent
    Apply your policies consistently to all employees to avoid potential discrimination claims. If updates to your policy are necessary, ensure that employees acknowledge these changes to maintain transparency.
  4. Educate Employees
    Provide education on the potential effects of marijuana use, emphasizing impairment and its impact on job performance and safety. Encourage responsible decision-making and make it clear that marijuana consumption during the workday or on company premises is not permitted.
  5. Drug Testing
    Decide on your company's approach to drug testing and establish the circumstances under which testing will occur. While testing for marijuana impairment is challenging, reasonable suspicion and post-accident testing can still be effective, similar to alcohol consumption policies.
  6. Accommodate Medical Marijuana
    Be prepared to make reasonable accommodations for employees with valid medical needs, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and internal procedures.
  7. Safety Concerns
    If your business involves safety-sensitive positions or tasks, address potential risks associated with marijuana use. Ensure employees in such roles are not impaired while on the job and consider third-party testing for added assurance.
  8. Encourage Open Communication
    Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing concerns or questions about company policies and the impact of marijuana use on their work. Proactively address policy updates to preemptively answer any questions.
  9. Seek Legal Counsel
    Consult with legal counsel to ensure your policies and practices comply with local and federal laws. Given the complexity and potential changes in marijuana laws, legal guidance is essential.
  10.  Monitor and Adapt
    Stay informed about changes in the legal landscape and employee attitudes toward marijuana use. Be ready to adapt your policies and practices accordingly, striking a balance between respecting employees' rights and maintaining a safe and productive work environment.

Remember, your specific approach will depend on your unique circumstances, including industry and insurance requirements. At Ahola ProActive HR, we are here to support you in navigating these changes and ensuring a seamless transition in light of Ohio's evolving marijuana laws. If you have any questions or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated HR team.

Ahola ProActive Consulting

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This blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, and cannot constitute legal advice, because the authors are not licensed attorneys. Readers should not rely or act upon any information presented on this blog without seeking professional legal counsel. The views expressed in each post are those of the author, and the author alone; they are not the views of Ahola. The information provided in this blog is general, and based on information available as of the date of publishing. Information herein is provided on an “as is” or “as available” basis; we make no warranty of any kind to you regarding the information provided and disclaim any liability for damages from use of the blog or its content. Please consult an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular question or issue.