In February of 2021, Governor Murphy lastly signed the lengthy awaited “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” which legalizes leisure, grownup (not less than 21 years previous) use of marijuana (or “hashish”).

One of many main issues which has existed because the very beginnings of this Act was the way it was going to impact drug testing within the office and what job protections may have to be created in relation to staff’ marijuana use.  The Act does handle job protections.  Nonetheless, whereas a number of sections of the Actphoto__1894482_mclaughlin_nardi_4712 got here into impact instantly, the employment-related provisions will not be anticipated to take impact till the newly-created Cannabis Regulatory Commission establishes laws offering particular procedures and guidelines for typically practices in compliance with the Act.  That Fee is meant to take action inside 180 days of the passing of the Act, bringing us to roughly August 21, 2021 earlier than marijuana job protections will come into impact.

The Marijuana Act particularly prohibits employers from refusing to rent, firing, or taking another hostile motion towards somebody particularly as a result of that particular person makes use of marijuana recreationally. Certainly, an employer can’t discriminate towards a person in compensation or in any phrases, circumstances, or privileges of employment based mostly upon marijuana use exterior of the office. Thus, marijuana use seems to have the identical protections as different protected classifications similar to race and gender discrimination.  Once more, we must see how the Committee addresses this to see what the particular guidelines might be.

According to that, the Act additionally units forth that an employer can’t take an hostile motion towards an worker solely based mostly on a drug check displaying the presence of cannabinoid metabolites within the worker’s system.  Nonetheless, employers are nonetheless allowed to have drug-free office insurance policies and are nonetheless permitted to drug check staff. As an illustration, an employer can nonetheless require drug testing as a part of pre-employment checks, if there’s a affordable suspicion that the worker is utilizing marijuana whereas on the job or clear indicators of being below the affect, random drug testing or as a part of common screenings, or as a part of a work-related accident investigation.   An employer also can nonetheless have insurance policies towards an worker utilizing, having, or being below the affect of marijuana whereas working and might self-discipline the worker for any violation of that coverage.  (This isn’t essentially the case when there may be medical marijuana use which may influence legal guidelines towards disability discrimination; this new marijuana Act is particularly centered on leisure use.)

If an employer drug exams the worker utilizing scientifically legitimate strategies and an authorized Office Impairment Knowledgeable has carried out an analysis of the worker and decided that the worker is below the affect of marijuana throughout work hours, then the employer could possibly take disciplinary motion towards the worker in accordance with their insurance policies.

Whereas this prohibition towards hostile employment actions is mostly relevant to all staff and employers in New Jersey, the place the employer is a federal contractor or company, these employers could also be required to adjust to federal regulation which has not but legalized leisure marijuana use. Thus, if compliance with the New Jersey Marijuana Act would lead to a provable hostile influence on an employer topic to the necessities of a federal contract, then that employer might revise their worker prohibitions in line with federal regulation, guidelines, and laws.

 

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The employment and business attorneys at McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC are carefully monitoring the legal guidelines, guidelines, and laws associated to New Jersey’s altering atmosphere on marijuana and hashish legal guidelines.  Our legal professionals are skilled with a variety of employment and business laws, disputes, and transactions, and might advise each employers and employees about their rights and duties below New Jersey evolving employment regulation necessities.  As soon as these legal guidelines take impact, employers must also assessment their employee handbooks and policies and alter them as wanted. To study extra about what we could possibly do to assist, please contact us by filling out the contact type on this web page or name us at (973) 890-0004.