Are employers required to accommodate medical or recreational marijuana users?

Legal marijuana use is not new in Oregon.  Oregon enacted laws related to medical marijuana in 1998 and a recreational marijuana law passed during the 2013 election.  In addition there are federal laws that declare the use and possession of marijuana illegal.

With the passage of the recreational marijuana law in 2013, questions are coming up again about what an employer’s obligations are in regards to employees who use marijuana, either recreational or medical.

In the 2010 Oregon Supreme Court decision in the Emerald Steel case, the court held that employers have no obligation to accommodate employees who use medical marijuana.  The 2013 recreational marijuana law does not include any requirement that employers accommodate employees who choose to use recreational marijuana. 

Employers are still allowed to have drug-free workplace policies and to enforce the provisions of those policies.  Staff, volunteers, students or other persons still cannot possess or use marijuana on school grounds, even with a valid prescription.

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