HR Alert

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Law Addresses Employment

Law Outlines Rights of Employers and Medical Marijuana Patients

A new law in West Virginia allows a patient to use medical marijuana to treat certain qualifying medical conditions. Key provisions of the law that affect employers are highlighted below.

Patient and Employer Rights
Under the law, an employer may not discharge, threaten, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding his or her compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of his or her status as an individual who is certified to use medical cannabis.

Among other things, the law does not:

  • Require an employer to make any accommodation of the use of medical cannabis on the property or premises of any place of employment.
  • Limit an employer's ability to discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical cannabis in the workplace or for working while under the influence of medical cannabis when the employee's conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position.
  • Require an employer to commit any act that would put the employer or any person acting on its behalf in violation of federal law.

Special Rules for Tasks and Duties Involving Public Health & Safety
Under the law, an employer may prohibit a medical marijuana patient from performing:

  • Any task which the employer deems life-threatening, to either the employee or any of the employees of the employer, while under the influence of medical cannabis.
  • Any duty which could result in a public health or safety risk while under the influence of medical cannabis.

Note: Neither of these prohibitions will be deemed an adverse employment decision, even if the prohibition results in financial harm for the patient.

The law became generally effective as of April 19, 2017. Additional provisions affecting employment are available in the text of the law.

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