Could the legal questions over marijuana in the workplace get more confusing? In a word, yes.
When Colorado and Washington legalized its recreational use, it meant that workers could use the drug without violating state laws in one location, then return to work and be fired for testing positive. (Marijuana use is still against federal law, but the U.S. government has so far declined to enforce that law there or in the 21 states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana).
The best advice to companies is to be very clear with its employees on its drug and alcohol policies and to train supervisors to recognize signs of impairment.
But now things have gotten a little more confusing. According to an article in the Safety News Alert website, a state appeals court in New Mexico has ordered a company to pay for an employees medical marijuana under workers comp.
The company reportedly argued that requiring it to pay for medical marijuana under state law would force it to violate federal law. However, the appeals court said that the Department of Justice has made the official policy decision to not enforce the law in cases of medical marijuana and determined that the company needs to pay.
So how soon will a court decide that marijuana use is a “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act?