When Governor Kasich signed House Bill 523 last year, Ohio joined the many other states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana. While several agencies are still working on the implementation of this landmark legislation, there is one group that may be in for a surprise once doctors start prescribing medical marijuana ― namely, Ohio workers.
In fact, what many workers in Ohio may not know is that their employers may fire them for using medical marijuana, even though it is completely legal. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your doctor prescribes marijuana; your job may still be at risk.
How is this possible?
One of the most important aspects of Ohio’s medical marijuana law is that “registered patients” are expressing protected from criminal arrest or prosecution for obtaining, using or possession medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, however, this protection does not extend to one’s job. In fact, Ohio law clearly states that the new medical marijuana bill does not “require an employer to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession or distribution of medical marijuana.”
This same law says that employers are not prohibited from firing, punishing or refusing to hire an individual because of his or her medical marijuana use. Furthermore, the medical marijuana law does not permit a worker to file a lawsuit against his or her employer if he or she if fired or disciplined for medical marijuana use.
Sadly, some workers may find themselves without a job if they decide to follow their doctors’ recommendations and take medical marijuana, especially if their employers have a zero-tolerance policy or some other formal policy regarding marijuana use.