Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What Happens When The Feds Decide To Enforce Marijuana Laws? Preparing For The Trumpocalypse Part II

While four more states legalized marijuana for recreational use and four passed medical marijuana laws, meaning a majority of states now have some form of legal marijuana, it looks like the Trump administration may step up enforcement on the federal level. What does this mean for workers who need marijuana for disabilities? Nothing good.

So far, seven states have passed laws banning discrimination against medical marijuana users in the workplace. However, states that have laws prohibiting discrimination against employees for engaging in legal off duty activities have pretty much universally decided that, since marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, using it even with a prescription still isn't a legal off duty activity. The Americans With Disabilities Act still doesn't cover medical marijuana as a reasonable accommodation due to its illegality on the federal level.

While it has been looking like the feds were not going to enforce marijuana laws and therefore states with legalized marijuana were on their own to decide how to regulate pot use, it now looks like that may be reversed under Trump. This will embolden employers who want to crack down on employees who use medical marijuana.

If you think you can use marijuana in your state and not be fired, even with a prescription, you might want to wait and see how things fall out with the Trump administration.

Another issue with stepped up enforcement will be whether you can be fired for an arrest or a conviction. In most states you can. Plus, in most states employers can refuse to hire you with a record. This means that even in states that have laws against discriminating against medical marijuana users, you may be out of luck if you are arrested by the feds for your prescription.

Then, of course, there's the issue of prison, which obviously is a major concern. All of this is pretty terrible news for folks with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, seizure disorders, Crohn's disease, epilepsy, concussion, Alzheimer's, bipolar disorder and other conditions that are helped by marijuana.

Bottom line is you'll have to wait and see what the Trump administration decides to do about marijuana before you get too comfortable using it for medical or recreational purposes.

Next time, vote better.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.