Labor Regulation: The complexity round Virginia’s legalization of marijuana and different state legal guidelines has left employers with extra questions than solutions | Enterprise Information
However, under federal law, current illicit drug use exempts a person from coverage under the Disability Act. That’s because marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Employers also need to grapple with how to target an employee who tests positive for marijuana during an employer’s drug screening.
Virginia lawmakers partially addressed this issue during their 2021 session when they passed a law to discipline an employee who uses cannabis oil for medicinal purposes.
This Cannabis Oil Act, which also comes into effect July 1st, states: “No employer may dismiss an employee for the lawful use of cannabis oil by such an employee according to a valid written certificate issued by a practitioner for treatment , discipline or discriminate to eliminate the symptoms of the diagnosed condition or illness of the employee according to the existing certification for the use of cannabis oil for treatment described in the Cannabis Oil Act
Cannabis oil is narrowly defined in this Act and specifically excludes certain industrial hemp “that is grown, traded, or processed under state or federal laws unless it is purchased and formulated using cannabis plant extract by a pharmaceutical processor”.
This will be extremely confusing for employers and make it difficult for employers to know how to comply with the new state law that legalizes recreational marijuana possession.