The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes has been celebrated in West Virginia by both the public and the medical community. The consensus was that now there was a new treatment option. However, medical marijuana is raising concerns in the workplace. Lawmakers have been analyzing the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes against employees’ productivity in the workplace.
Legislation for Medical Marijuana Users
The Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary legislators is exploring efforts to ensure employees are not impaired in their workplaces. The lawmakers wrestle with various conflicting laws that allow the use of medical marijuana among patients with chronic illnesses. The grappling results from policies that assure and maintain safe workplaces.
It’s the position of Nancy Delugo, an attorney with the Littler Mendelson employment law firm, that American citizens welcome the idea of using marijuana for medicine. She specializes in drug and alcohol workplace issues. She, therefore, notes that the American people also want to prevent potentially impaired people from operating machinery on public roads. Hence, there must be steps to ensure people don’t get hurt.
How best can West Virginia Define Impairment?
For West Virginia to address the grey areas in the law-making process, the gaps need to be identified. The gaps identified will determine where the legislation should focus so that cardholders and employers understand their position.
The greatest challenge is to define the term impaired. The assessment of the term has to fit West Virginia so that the resulting legislation allows employees and employers a safe workplace. The consensus is that impairment does not matter the cause. A person under the influence of alcohol, lack of sleep, medical cannabis, or other drugs is still categorized as impaired.
However, the definition of the term will not redefine an impaired person. Instead, it should result in a test for employers, a tool they can rely on to determine if a person is impaired or not. Employers will be able to prevent workers from performing life-threatening tasks while impaired. They would now clarify whether to prohibit their employees beforehand or reassign duties. It would also provide employees with a standard expectation. They will know the acceptable factors beforehand.
These assessment tests will return positive and negative results. The employers can then determine if the levels measured can allow employers to restrict their employees from working on potentially life-threatening duties. Employers can reassign medical marijuana users to duties with less risk with this information.
Enforcement of Existing Laws
When it comes to enforcement of the law, Delugo confirms that West Virginia does not have laws that offer immunity for users of medical cannabis products. However, many states have laws and policies governing the operation of sensitive duties. These duties include overseeing children and operating motor vehicles and flammable materials.
Aaron R. Lopez of Political Capital LLC remarks that conflicts may continue. Yet again, there is a legal problem for patients in the united states. The initial legislation allowed them to use medical marijuana products. Now the legislation threatens their involvement in the workplace. And Delugo agrees that that is the tension currently.