All employers should maintain an employee handbook or similar policy statement that clearly sets out the employer’s position on drug and alcohol use. While federal laws relating to marijuana possession and use have not changed, many states have revised their statutes to legalize, decriminalize, or otherwise permit marijuana possession and use. This has caused some confusion for employers, who must balance the conflicting state and federal rules.
Over thirty states have enacted legislation allowing marijuana use in certain situations. In some states (California and Massachusetts, for example), medical and recreational use is permitted. In many other states, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, only medical use is permitted. A number of states have also adopted legislation that specifically protects marijuana users from termination from employment based solely on a positive test for marijuana.