On November 7, 2023, Ohio voters made Ohio the twenty-fourth state in the United States to legalize the recreational possession and use of marijuana. Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) Section 3780, which is subject to amendment by the Ohio General Assembly, will go into effect on December 7, 2023, but it will take months to establish regulations that more clearly define the law’s requirements.
2. Employers may continue to discipline, refuse to hire, or discharge employees for marijuana use or for being under the influence of marijuana at work. Although the law does not require it, employers may wish to make the expectations clear in a written policy. However, employers may want to note that a drug test does not measure impairment.
3. Employers may continue to prohibit marijuana use as part of their drug-free workplace programs and may continue to test applicants and current employees for marijuana use. However, employers will likely want to continue to evaluate positive marijuana tests carefully to determine the legal risk profile in each individual scenario. For more information regarding the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) position regarding post-accident drug testing specifically, please see “Majority of States Have Legalized Marijuana, but OSHA’s Post-Incident Drug-Testing Guidance Hasn’t Changed.”
4. An employer’s decision to terminate the employment of an employee for marijuana use under a workplace policy is considered “just cause” for purposes of unemployment compensation.
5. Drug tests cannot yet accurately determine whether someone is under the influence of marijuana and have varying lookback windows of detection depending on the drug test specimen. Accordingly, decisions about whether an individual is under the influence at work require a combination of drug testing and trained observance in order to create a factual narrative and inference of impairment. Employers may want to make sure that supervisors are adequately trained in reasonable suspicion observations.
6. Nothing in the law alters the U.S. Department of Transportation’s or the Federal Aviation Administration’s drug-free workplace requirements.
7. Nothing in the law affects grant rebates or discounts for employers that participate in a drug-free workplace program for workers’ compensation.