On February 2, 2022, Governor Tate Reeves signed into regulation the much-anticipated Mississippi Medical Hashish Act (“MMCA”) which legalizes the usage of marijuana for medical functions within the state. Mississippi is the 37th state to enact a regulation referring to the usage of marijuana as a medically licensed therapy for a “debilitating medical situation.” The majority of the 445 pages of MMCA addresses the regulation, licensure and certification requisites for medical marijuana. Nevertheless, there are provisions that ought to serve to consolation employers throughout the state.
Certainly, the MMCA seems to bend over backward in defending Mississippi employers and their current employment relationships with workers. Underneath Part 7 of the Act, entitled “Limitations,” the MMCA particularly supplies that it shall not be construed to require an employer “to allow, accommodate, or permit the medical use of medical hashish, or to switch any job or working circumstances of any worker who engages within the medical use of medical hashish.” Actually, the MMCA goes additional in stating an employer shouldn’t be prohibited from refusing to rent or in any other case taking an hostile employment motion, as much as and together with termination, towards a person “because of this, in entire or partially, of that particular person’s medical use of medical hashish.” Nothing within the MMCA “prohibits an employer from disciplining an worker for ingesting medical hashish within the office or for working whereas below the affect of medical hashish.” Maybe extra comforting from an employer’s perspective is that the MMCA is to not be construed as creating a non-public proper of motion by an worker towards an employer nor does it “have an effect on the prevailing authorized relationship between an employer and worker or any current regulation or regulation referring to such relationship.”
So, what does this imply for Mississippi employers? Merely put, it’s enterprise as ordinary besides now employers could select to indicate some tolerance towards non-DOT workers receiving licensed therapy through medical hashish – versus zero tolerance for all confirmed constructive drug assessments. Though not required to take action by the MMCA, employers could need to think about modifying their drug testing insurance policies particularly to excuse a constructive drug take a look at for marijuana if the worker possesses a medical certification card. Nonetheless, the employer remains to be permitted to and will prohibit the usage of marijuana on its premises and take rapid motion within the occasion an worker reviews to work or is discovered to be working below the affect.
Lastly, employers nonetheless have to be aware of the relevant federal legal guidelines such because the People with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Household Medical Go away Act (FMLA). The MMCA defines what circumstances will represent a “debilitating medical situation” and most, if not all, would qualify as a incapacity below the ADA or a severe well being situation below the FMLA. Subsequently, warning ought to be taken to keep away from any choice which may be seen as taking an hostile employment motion primarily based on the underlying situation itself.