Article At A Glance:
On July 1, 2021, Virginia legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults aged 21 and older, joining the District of Columbia and Maryland. In the District, marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational use, and in Maryland it is legal for medicinal use. Eligible Virginia residents can legally consume, grow, and possess marijuana. Lawmakers have a 2024 deadline to create the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to regulate and sell marijuana.
Virginia employers still have the power to implement drug testing policies preventing their staff from using marijuana. Many Virginia employers are government contractors which do business with the Federal Government, where marijuana is still illegal, and are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation Drug Free Workplace mandate. This mandate is outlined in 48 CFR 52.223-6/FAR 23.506.
Virginia employers also should be mindful of the intersection between an employee’s medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of a disability, and any drug policies the employer has. When a medical issue comes up in the workplace, employers should understand the applicable rules and laws that apply to ensure that any HR actions are legal and fair. Employers with 15 or more employees are subject to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and Virginia employers with less than 15 employees are subject to the Virginia Human Rights Act, which was amended on July 1, 2021, to preclude discrimination on the basis of disability.
Virginia employers who need assistance with any of the following should contact Lipp Law:
-Legal advice regarding HR and employment issues in the workplace
-Disability/Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodations
See our next article about 3 Musts for Employee Terminations.
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