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Answering your questions on marijuana and the workplace

Recreational Marijuana
Posted at 10:41 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2023-02-03 11:28:19-05

When marijuana was legalized in Missouri, we asked you to submit questions to our website on what would happen going forward.

One question came up more than all the others, 'What happens when I go into work?'

Lauren Sierra, an employment attorney and Mika Thompson, a UMKC professor and attorney, helped cut through the haze surrounding the Amendment 3 vote and employment.

"I think that people wish this was a free pass that they could smoke any time, any place, including at work," Sierra said. "But let me assure you that is not the case."

A lot of people signed some form of contract when they were hired.

There's also a good chance there was a no drug policy written in.

Both attorneys say if that's your situations, you still have to follow those rules.

"An employer can restrict use of marijuana in the work place, just like an employer can restrict use of alcohol in the workplace," Thompson said.

Experts say the change in rule means there will likely need to be some changes to contracts going forward that satisfy both people who for marijuana use and against its use.

"It is complicated and I think that what we're going to see employers do is recraft their policies," Thompson said. "Kind of a standard up or down drug testing policy is not probably going to work that well."

Sierra says employers will likely revise their workplace handbooks.

"Employers may be asking, "Well, what do I do if I'm uncomfortable with that or employees who are uncomfortable with that, how do I make sure that everybody is going to be okay? " she said. "Probably going to involve adding some extra pages to the handbook."