What Does Legal Marijuana Mean for Massachusetts Employers?

Yesterday, Massachusetts voters approved a law permitting recreational use of marijuana by a margin of 53.6 percent to 46.4 percent.   Numerous employers have asked how this impacts the workplace.  Are employees entitled to utilize recreational marijuana at work or on a break?  Do employers have to allow for marijuana use as an accommodation to a disability?  Can employers no longer enforce drug/alcohol-free workplace policies as they relate to marijuana?

Thankfully, the 12-page statute provides clarity for employers wondering how this affects the workplace in Section 2(e):

(e) This chapter shall not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this chapter (i.e. the use of recreational marijuana) in the workplace and shall not affect the authority of employers to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.    

This section makes clear that employers will not have to allow marijuana use in the workplace and will still be able to enforce a drug-use policy that restricts the consumption of marijuana by employees. 

Employers who do not have a drug/alcohol-free workplace policy should have one.  Employers who have not updated their policies since the 2012 legislation legalizing medical marijuana should do so.  Please contact us if you would like assistance in drafting or reviewing workplace policies to be sure they comply with these laws.