Employers Must Note Changes to New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Law

Employers Must Note Changes to New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Law

On July 2, 2019, Governor Murphy signed numerous revisions to the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”), into law. CUMMA is now renamed the “Jake Honig Compassionate Use Cannabis Act,” and now includes very important changes that employers must be aware of as they impact the validity of certain policies and practices. 

The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Cannabis Act contains a non-discrimination provision stating that an employer cannot take an adverse employment action against an employee based on the employee’s status as a registry identification cardholder. Employers are still permitted to conduct drug testing and have drug testing policies; however, if an employee or job applicant tests positive for cannabis, the employee or job applicant must be offered an opportunity to present a legitimate medical explanation for the positive test result or request a retest.

Employers who conduct drug tests must also adhere to the following procedures:

·         provide written notice to employees or job applicants of positive test results;

·         advise the employee or job applicant or his or her right to “present a legitimate explanation for the positive test result”;

·         give employees and job applicants three working days after receiving notice of a positive test result to submit information to the employer explaining the positive test result OR to request a confirmatory rest of the original sample at the employee’s or job applicant’s own expense; and

·         permit employees and job applicants to present their authorization for medical cannabis issued by their health care practitioner or proof of registration as a qualified user of medical cannabis.

In light of the above changes to New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, employers with zero tolerance drug policies must revise their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Cannabis Act.

Nothing in the new law restricts an employer’s ability to prohibit possession or use of intoxicating substances during work hours or on workplace premises outside of work hours.  Additionally, nothing in the new law require employers to commit any act that would violate federal law or result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding.   Employers will not be penalized or denied any benefit under State law if they employ persons who are registered cardholders.  

If you have any questions or concerns about the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Cannabis Act and its impact on the workplace, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Employment and Labor Practice Group at Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP: Thomas N. Ryan Esq. (tryan@lcrlaw.com), Ursula H. Leo, Esq. (uleo@lcrlaw.com), Jessica A. Jansyn, Esq. (jjansyn@lcrlaw.com), or Nicole C. Tracy, Esq. (ntracy@lcrlaw.com). Our attorneys can also be reached by phone at (973) 729-1880.