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How Safe is the Work Environment for Employees In States Where Marijuana is Legal

A new study has been conducted in states where recreational or medical marijuana has been legalized. As a result, the study suggests that that most employers have not allowed for a social shift at their workplaces when testing employees for marijuana despite the social change going on in the states. The survey was done by the Society for Human Resource Management, where 623 human resource professionals in nineteen states where medical marijuana is legal and four states and Washington D.C., where cannabis is legal for adult use, were observed. Apparently, employers are still following federal laws and guidelines regardless of whether or not the states they are operating in has legalized marijuana.

The study has recorded that 41 percent of those surveyed in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana was legalized were fired after testing positive for the drug after the first time. Also, 50 percent of those surveyed where only medical marijuana is legal had the same results. In addition, 44 percent of employers in recreational states stated that they would not hire marijuana smokers. The relationship between employers and employees have not changed when it comes to marijuana no matter what state they are in.

“Regardless of whether marijuana use is legal for any reason in their states, many organizations will continue to follow federal guidelines that prohibit its use among all employees,” the study reads.

The Supreme Court in Colorado thought about this issue last summer; Brandon Coats, a former DISH Network employee, was fired after testing positive for marijuana and decided to challenge it. Unfortunately for Coats, the court ruled against him. Coats is a medical marijuana patient paralyzed in more than 4/5s of his body and said that “under Colorado’s lawful activities statute, the term ‘lawful’ refers to activities that are legal only under both state and federal law…” and that employees who act under state law but not federal law are not being protected.

and employees who engage in activities permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law aren’t protected.

By J. Phillip

Coming from Miami FL, Jonathan Phillip or (J. Phillip) is a social media marketer and currently head of PR and social media management for When working with clients in various sectors Jonathan will use his expertise and knowledge to make sure the correct audience is viewing and engaging with your content product or service. Jonathan is a self-taught marketer and entrepreneur learning from the best and sharpening his skills with each project.

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