Regardless of whether or not Governor John Kasich (R-OH) signs a bill legalizing medical marijuana, Ohio employers can still enforce restrictions on employees using the drug for treatment.
Last month, the Ohio state legislature passed a bill that would allow patients with a physician recommendation to use marijuana without smoking it. Nevertheless, the bill also states that employers have the right to maintain drug-free policies in the workplace. As long as an employer informs potential hires of the policy, they have the legal right to pass over or fire a person because of marijuana use—even if they’re under the advisement of a physician.
While decriminalized in many areas and completely legal in others, marijuana still carries a Schedule I classification under federal law. This excludes marijuana from the regulation allowing a person the right to access drugs prescribed to them by a doctor.
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association legislative counsel Fred Gittes concludes that keeping employees from using marijuana is illogical, especially when these same patients are freely given access to opiates, which are highly addictive and potentially dangerous.
“That provision defies common sense,” he told Dispatch. “It’s nonsense and it’s wrong.”
While Gittes does agree that positions demanding physical coordination and/or the operation of heavy machinery should require restrictions, other employees should not be expressly prohibited.