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Recent Changes to Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Law

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As Pennsylvania employers are well aware, medical marijuana has been available at state-approved dispensaries since February of 2018.  To date, more than 11,000 Pennsylvanians have been certified by state-approved physicians as having a qualifying medical condition. Earlier this week, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health and Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, said that she will approve several recommendations from the state’s medical marijuana advisory board that are expected to increase the number of participants in the program.  Notably, the list of qualifying medical conditions will be expanded to include: cancer remission therapy, opioid addiction therapy, neurodegenerative disorders, and spastic movement disorders.  Dispensaries will also be able to sell marijuana in dry leaf or plant form.  Regulations implementing these and other changes in the state’s medical marijuana program will go into effect in May 2018.

As more than one million Pennsylvanians are estimated to have a qualifying medical condition under the law, employers must be prepared to deal with the various issues relating to medical marijuana in the workplace.  With “4/20” right around the corner, employers must remember that they cannot discriminate or retaliate against a candidate or employee because he/she is certified to use medical marijuana.  Employers, however, are not without recourse.  Critically, employers do not need to accommodate the use of medical marijuana at work and may discipline employees for being under the influence of medical marijuana while at work.

For questions on this or any other labor and employment topic, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Labor and Employment Department: George Hlavac, Steve Hoffman, Ed Easterly, or John Buckley.