On November 7, 2023, Ohio voters passed Issue 2, an Act that will legalize the purchase and use of recreational marijuana. Issue 2 created Chapter 3780 of the Ohio Revised Code that will go into effect on December 7, 2023. Chapter 3780 includes provisions that protect an employer’s authority to establish hiring and employment policies and practices related to an employee’s use of marijuana. Under Chapter 3780, Ohio employers retain the following rights:
- Employers are not required to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of marijuana.
- Employers are not prohibited from refusing to hire, fire, discipline, or otherwise taking adverse employment action against an individual because of individual’s use, possession, or distribution of marijuana.
- Employers may establish and enforce a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy.
- Employers who discharge an individual because of the individual’s use of marijuana in violation of the employer’s drug free or marijuana policy is considered to have been discharged for just cause for purposes of unemployment benefits eligibility.
Employers should note that employees retain the right to commence a cause of action against an employer for refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, discriminating, retailing, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against an individual relating to the individual’s use of marijuana.
Since Issue 2 was a ballot-initiative amending the Ohio Revised Code and not an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio legislature has the authority to amend the language of R.C. 3780. However, most of these changes involve public smoking, tax rates or how Ohio will use revenue, none of which directly affect the employer rights stated here.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to POLING attorneys Jennifer Myers and John Bauer at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.