The Ohio Chamber of Commerce recently voted to oppose the legalization of marijuana in the state, citing workplace safety as a major concern. Responsible Ohio is the organization spearheading the campaign to legalize marijuana in the state, but it has met with resistance from business leaders. If Responsible Ohio is successful with its campaign, an amendment would pass that legalizes marijuana.
Criticism against an amendment has come from business owners who are afraid workers under the influence of marijuana could create an unsafe work environment. Responsible Ohio has responded to criticism by arguing that legal marijuana would create 10,000 jobs and a multibillion-dollar industry. If passed, marijuana legalization would allow personal and medical use for adults 21 and over.
Businesses fear it would become impossible to drug test workers and more difficult to spot employees who are substance abusers. However, in states such as Colorado and Washington where marijuana has already been legalized, some employers still maintain drug-free policies and regular drug testing. In these states, it is mostly up to the employer whether to allow workers to use marijuana while off work.
Can Marijuana Pose a Danger to Workplace Safety?
In some states where medical marijuana is also legal, laws sometimes side with employees over employers, banning adverse actions based on positive drug tests. All jobs require a high standard of safety, but for some jobs, it can mean life and death. For bus drivers, crane operators, construction workers and other high-risk jobs, marijuana might pose a danger to workplace safety. In some cases, if businesses receive federal funding, they must abide by federal laws that prohibit marijuana use.
If marijuana is legalized in Ohio, workplace safety is definitely a topic that deserves continued discussion.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
– Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorneys