The use of medical cannabis, now legal under State law, may create a gray area within county government personnel policies. Traditional health and safety polices – especially important for county government roles that involve operating utility equipment, supervising children, and protecting public safety – are not as clear with medical cannabis use. In addition, ADA compliance, requests for accommodation, and wrongful termination challenges are anticipated.
At the MACo Winter Conference session, “When Green Fades to Gray: Workplace Standards in the Cannabis Era,” speakers discussed how workplace policies may need to be clarified or adapted now that medical cannabis is legal in Maryland and what may be in store—from a Human Resources perspective—if recreational marijuana is legalized in Maryland.
Kimberly L. Frock, CEBS, GBA, RPA, CLRP, Human Resources Director, Carroll County Government, and Jim Richardson, Director, Harford County Department of Human Resources, discussed current workplace policies regarding cannabis use and provided real-world examples of how the changing landscape of medical cannabis is creating headaches for HR professionals.
Helen White, CSAPA, White Glove Drug & Alcohol Testing, Inc., presented the pros and cons of various methods of drug screening, including urinalysis, hair testing, and saliva testing. White also detailed a number of studies regarding the impacts of cannabis use in the workplace.
Albert (Bert) B. Randall, Jr., Esq., President, Franklin & Prokopik, P.C. provided a national regulatory perspective, along with discussing the current dichotomy between Maryland’s law and federal law. Randall also highlighted potential implications for county employers, including liability for injuries that occur while an employee is seemingly impaired.
Attendees also learned valuable information on personnel options for county employers, including details on updated employment policies and laws regarding the ability to terminate employees based on cannabis use.
The session was moderated by Delegate Jeff Ghrist and held on Thursday, January 3, 2019.
The MACo Winter Conference was held January 2-4, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s theme was “Charting the Course.”