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No discrimination against PA medical cannabis employees
With Pennsylvania signing medical cannabis legislation into law, the question of how this may affect the workplace has arisen. Smoking marijuana is forbidden, but THC oils, pills, lotions and vapor are allowed for registered patients suffering from any one of a list of 17 ailments. It is the first state to include autism in its medical cannabis treatment list.
However, THC, the molecule found in marijuana based preparations causes a degree of intoxication, and employers are wondering how this will affect employee performance. CBD, the cannabinoid found in hemp oil does not have this effect and does not form part of this question.
Questionable workplace conduct
Although employers may not discriminate against employees based on their use of medical cannabis, inappropriate conduct can be dealt with through disciplinary action in the normal way. If conduct is not appropriate, employers may take action – even if the employee blames his or her conduct on medical cannabis oil or other cannabis products.
Dangerous tasks and cannabis intoxication
If employees choose to use a psychoactive form of cannabis (THC based treatments) they may be excluded from performing dangerous types of work since this may place their lives or the lives of others in danger. Thus, construction workers who must work at dangerous heights, mine workers and those performing work in confined spaces may be prohibited from performing work while under the influence of marijuana products.
If blood tests show more than 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood other types of work such as work on high voltage installations or tasks involving controlled chemicals may not be performed. There are no restrictions or tests for CBD use.
Employers may take action if work performance is poor
Regulators say that employers’ and employees’ rights and responsibilities have not changed significantly as a result of cannabis legislation. Apart from taking action in cases of misconduct and prohibiting employees from doing certain types of dangerous work if under the influence of THC side-effects, poor work performance will also be addressed by employers in the usual way.
Not the same as federal law
Just because state law permits medical cannabis use, doesn’t mean that Federal Law can be ignored altogether. There are no provisions for medical cannabis patients in Federal Law, and Federal employees will be subject to a different set of rules as a result.
CBD should not affect work performance
Preparations such as CBD oil that contains almost no THC will not result in positive drug tests or psychedelic side effects. According to a study, the CBD cannabinoid does not even affect working memory and it should therefore not impact on work performance in any way.