Oklahoma legalizes medical marijuana – the real impact on Oklahoma employers.

On June 26, 2018, the voters of Oklahoma passed state question 788 legalizing medical marijuana.  Much has been written about the law, some true and some embellished.  There is now a rush to find out what this means.  My advice to employers, take a moment.  Consider the text of the law.  Consider how this will impact your place of employment and how it will not.

The gist of the law is that employers cannot discriminate against an applicant or employee because that person has a medical marijuana license or because such person holding a medical marijuana license has a drug test showing positive for marijuana or its components.  Of course, that goes out the window if there are federal laws or regulations which trump this state law.

Immediately, the impact on your place of employment is answering the many questions you will get.  Be ready for that.  Here are two overriding themes to keep in mind.

First, you can still prohibit the possession and use of marijuana at work and during working hours – even medical marijuana.  That hasn’t changed.

Second, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.  So, for example, if you are subject to the Drug Free Workplace Act or if you have employees subject to federal Department of Transportation drug testing regulations, that is still in place.  Federal law doesn’t recognize “medical” marijuana, and state question 788 doesn’t change that. Continue reading