Last November, Florida voters approved an amendment to the Florida constitution legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. (see Impact of Florida’s New Medical Marijuana Law on Employers)
Under this amendment, the Florida legislature had until July 3, 2017 to implement regulations that provide guidelines on the implementation of the state’s Constitutional Amendment regarding medical marijuana. Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 8-A, which addresses the medical use of marijuana in Florida.
The constitutional amendment legalized the use of medical marijuana for persons with specific “qualifying conditions” including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic nonmalignant pain, and comparable medical conditions).
Under the new law, “medical use” does not include possession, use, or administration of marijuana that was not purchased or acquired from a medical marijuana treatment center. In addition, the only permissible use of medical marijuana is consumption as edibles, vaping, oils, sprays or tinctures. The smoking of medical marijuana is not permitted under the law.
In addition, the new law includes some employer-friendly provisions:
- The term “medical use” does not include use at a qualified patient’s place of employment, except when such use is permitted by his or her employer.
- The law does not limit the ability of an employer “to establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free workplace program or policy.”
- Employers are not required to “accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana.”
- Medical marijuana is not reimbursable under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law.
- The law “does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination.”
Recommendations for employers
It is recommended that Florida employers review their drug and alcohol policies to determine whether any revisions are required.