To date, 25 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis use to some degree. Most recent laws legalizing cannabis use have been geared towards removing criminal penalties for users, and do not fully address workplace issues posed by medical cannabis.
Attendees to the MACo Winter Conference session “Cannabis in the Workplace: Clearing the Haze” learned about potential liability and logistical issues due to the changing landscape of state medical cannabis laws, including the potential for accommodation requests and wrongful termination claims.
Anne Arundel Community College professor, Shad Ewart, discussed the current state of medical cannabis laws in Maryland. Mr. Ewart also talked about the potential for entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging medical cannabis industry.
William Tilburg, Deputy Director of the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy, discussed some of the legal issues surrounding medical cannabis. Tilburg also discussed medical cannabis laws in other states, with a particular focus on those who have been through the process of legalizing medical cannabis. Furthermore, William discussed how the Obama administration has gone about addressing this issue, along with the potential changes that could arise with a new administration.
Finally, Director of Health Services at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company, Dr. Stephen Fisher, discussed the chemical composition of cannabis, the lack of evidence-based research on either the positive or negative side effects of medicinal cannabis use, and issues surrounding cannabis use and workplace safety.
The session was moderated by Allegany County Commissioner William Valentine and held from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm on December 8.
The MACo Winter Conference is being held December 7-9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “An Ounce of Prevention.”