More states are looking to legalize marijuana, and with 2016 elections coming up, the number of states that will actually legalize marijuana is bound to go up. Employers are going to have a difficult time, though, trying to stick to federal requirements of a workplace ridden of both drugs and injuries. Quest Diagnostics released a whitepaper called “What Will ‘Legal’ Marijuana Cost Employers” which outlines the main issues that employers can expect to see.

According to the whitepaper, medical marijuana legalization resulted in a rare happening – the production of products infused with marijuana. At the moment, almost half of the pot-smokers in states where it is legal eat marijuana products rather than smoking the plant. Also, vape pens, which are basically e-cigarettes with marijuana oils in it, do not leave behind a marijuana smell and cannot be distinguished from e-cigarettes. Because of inventions such as these, it will be almost impossible for employers to know whether or not employees are using marijuana on the job. As the use of marijuana increases, employers can also expect the following to increase: “workplace injuries, accidents, mistakes, and employee illnesses, escalating the costs of companies’ liability, workers’ compensation and health insurance.”

Here are some questions that companies should consider asking:

• Will employers be required to accommodate cannabis use in their workplaces?
• Do employers need to pay for employees’ medical marijuana if they are injured while working?
• Do employers need to provide unemployment compensation to employees fired for failing a marijuana drug test?
• How does the increasing rate of teens using marijuana affect the future workforce?
• How are employers expected to meet the federal requirement of a drug-free workplace when there is no noninvasive test to detect impairment?
• If there is no longer a requirement of drug testing, then how can businesses that operate under heavy machinery protect its employees?

Here are five ways that employers can remain safe, though:

1) Stay updated with the changing rules in the marijuana industry and make sure to adjust accordingly.
2) Keep in mind that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
3) Take action with legislatures to make sure that rules of the workplace are also met.
4) Teach employees of the dangers of marijuana.
5) Do not by any means allow for medical marijuana to be provided in health insurance for your employees.

MAPH Enterprises, LLC | (305) 414-0128 | 1501 Venera Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146 |
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