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Medical Marijuana in Ohio - Where Are We Now

By Brendon Friesen

September 28, 2017

More than a year has passed since Governor Kasich signed House Bill 523, legalizing medical marijuana (MMJ) in Ohio and making our state the 25th to adopt such a program. At the time, those interested in getting involved -- as a cultivator, processor, dispensary, or physician -- had little information on exactly what the program would look like from a practical and economic standpoint.

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Breaking the Stereotype

The war on marijuana began in the 1960s and culminated in the Drug Abuse and Prevention Act of 1970 signed by Richard Nixon. Today the drug remains a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin, cocaine and LSD, pursuant to the federal Controlled Substances Act. Of course, the perception of the drug has changed over time. California was the first state to adopt legislation decriminalizing and allowing the use of medical marijuana use by the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Even now, pursuant to the Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment, the U.S. Justice Department is not permitted to interfere with the state’s adoption of medical marijuana programs.

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By: Amy Kullik


Question: Since medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio, as an employer, can I enforce our drug-free workplace policy against employees who are impaired at work even though they are lawfully using it?

 Answer: Yes. Even though medical marijuana use is legal in Ohio, marijuana remains an illegal drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Employers have an interest in and legal responsibility to maintain a safe working environment, and drug use is considered a threat to the workplace.

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