Section 9 of the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act took effect on July 2, 2019. The Act itself is codified at N.J.S. 24:6i-1 et seq.
Section 9 addresses itself to employees authorized to use medical marijuana. That Section provides that employers may not take any adverse employment action against an employee who is a registered qualifying patient when that adverse action is based solely on the employee's status as a registered medical marijuana patient. “Adverse employment action” means refusing to hire or employ an individual, barring or discharging an individual from employment, requiring an individual to retire from employment, or discriminating against an individual in compensation or in any terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
For employers having a drug testing policy, when an employee or job applicant tests positive for marijuana, the employer must give the employee or job applicant an opportunity to provide a legitimate medical explanation for the positive test result. The employer is required to inform the employee or job applicant of this right in writing. Upon receiving this notice, employees or job applicants have three working days to document the medical explanation just mentioned. That documentation can be an authorization from a health care practitioner. It can also consist of proof of registration as a medical marijuana patient. Alternatively the employee or applicant can request a confirmatory retest of the original sample. The employee or applicant must pay for that confirmatory test.
The Act preserves the employer's ability to prohibit possession or use of intoxicating substances on the premises. The employer is not required to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law, that would result in a loss of a licensing-related benefit pursuant to federal law, or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding.
Note the word “solely,” above. Thus status as a medical marijuana patient does not protect the employee from adverse employment action for reasons such as poor work performance, reductions in force, and the like.
The web page of the Division of Medicinal Marijuana in the New Jersey Department of Health contains a wealth of information about medicinal marijuana in New Jersey. Marijuana Lawyers in New Jersey™ are available for patients and defendants needing legal help in enforcing, or defendingc their rights. Call them!
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