Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Dustin Carlton discussed the tension that exists between state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana use in the workplace. While marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law and currently illegal to use, many states have legalized the drug for medical and even recreational use. Many employers are faced with remaining compliant with these opposing laws. Dustin recommends employers review any current zero-tolerance policies in light of new state laws, “If you are a multi-state employer, you need to assume you need to make some modifications to tailor to each individual state, or make concessions in terms of past practices.”

Several recent cases have shown how divided courts are on this issue – previously, most courts ruled in favor of the federal law, but more recent courts have upheld state law. When asked whether this might indicate a new trend of upholding state marijuana laws over federal, Dustin said, “It’s tough to say — feels like it’s more of a trend, but I don’t know if I can really opine on that. You’d like to think they are more of an anomaly, but considering some of the unique statutory framework, I would expect there to be more challenges to it, more settlements, modifications to past policies to prevent litigation.”

The full article, “Marijuana in the Workplace: Balancing Competing Obligations,” was published by HR Dive on June 18, 2018, and is available online. The article was also published in Marijuana Focus and 420 Magazine, both of which are available online.