Employee Protections for Medical Cannabis? Massie Talks to Nevada Morning Radio

February 4, 2019 – Last week, Dustin Massie spoke to Michael Castner of KXNT 840 AM Radio in Las Vegas, Nevada, about laws concerning medical cannabis in the workplace. The interview was in advance of Dustin’s presentation at the Federal Bar Association’s Rising Professionals Symposium entitled “Medical Cannabis in the Workplace: What Protections Do Employees Have?”

Since many states have enacted statutes legalizing the use of medical cannabis, a key question is whether there’s a potential conflict between state law and the federal Control Substances Act (CSA). As Dustin noted, if there is no state law protection, an employee using medical cannabis at work and be terminated. Further, just because a state allows for the use of medical cannabis, it does not mean the statute protects usage at work.

Dustin observed that recent court decisions have tended to favor employees and state laws protecting against termination for using medical cannabis. These courts have concluded that when the issue is specifically related to the use of medical cannabis in the employment context, the CSA does not necessarily preempt state law. Generally, the CSA is applied to the cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana and not to employment matters. As such, when specific state statutes provide for nondiscrimination and disability accommodations at work, the CSA arguably does not apply. Dustin noted that the ultimate decision may need to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dustin Massie is an employment attorney with Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP and represents employees who have experienced discrimination, retaliation, harassment and other forms of unlawful treatment in the workplace. Dustin was named a 2018 Up-and-Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer and made the 2017 and 2018 lists of Minnesota Rising Stars.

Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP is committed to protecting the rights of employees who have suffered employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation. For questions about the firm or employment law rights, contact Dustin or any of our attorneys by clicking here.

A link to Dustin’s full interview with Mr. Castner can be found through our Twitter page here: https://twitter.com/kxnt/status/1091039150826897408