Exploring the Evolution of Marijuana Laws in the Remote Workplace | Corporate Counsel – Law.com

When COVID-19 began in 2020, employers were forced to quickly adjust and alter business practices in response to the effects of the pandemic. Over a year later, many employers are still adapting to the pandemic and transitioning to permanent remote or hybrid workplaces. In many cases, virtual meetings and in-home offices have become the norm. This shift to hybrid and remote workplaces has necessitated that employers reexamine their policies and practices and the applicable state laws where remote workers are based.

As employers adjust to changing workplaces, one important consideration is how recently enacted recreational marijuana laws can impact remote workers. Under federal law, marijuana is an illegal substance. However, many states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. Since legalization greatly differs nationwide, employers who operate in multiple states, or have employees working remotely in another state, must be aware of laws that protect employees who use marijuana legally outside of the workplace. Currently, the following states (and the District of Columbia) have some form of a recreational marijuana law: Alaska, Arizona California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

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