PLAIN TWP. Ohio – As of September 8, medical marijuana will be legal to use in the state of Ohio with a prescription.
House Bill 523 clears the way for legal distribution and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes but it also allows employers with a drug free workplace policy to prevent their employees from using it or face possible termination.
Plain Township trustees have added medical marijuana to their list of banned substances on the township’s drug free workplace policy.
The law that legalizes medical marijuana allows employers to establish and enforce a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy or zero-tolerance policy.
It also states that a person who is discharged from employment because of that person’s use of medical marijuana shall be considered to have been discharged for just cause if the person’s use of medical marijuana was in violation of an employers drug-free workplace policy.
Although the state of Ohio will be legalizing medical marijuana, Plain Township Administrator Lisa Campbell says it remains a federally controlled substance.
“So it is still illegal federally, so Plain Township is not required to hire anybody or to keep anyone on their payroll who is using medical marijuana, it is still an illegal drug,” said Campbell.
Campbell brought the level 1 drug-free workplace policy to Plain Township and says worker’s compensation does cover only those drugs that are approved by by the Federal Drug Administration and medical marijuana is not one of them.
She believes other municipalities and private employers around the state will be following their lead. “Any employer who has a drug free workplace will want to update their policy immediately to put similar language that we put in our policy stating that it it still illegal,” said Campbell.
“Now is the best time because after September 8 if it is not in your policy you are effectively allowing medical marijuana into your policy,” she added.
Proponents of medical marijuana believe the policy amounts to workplace discrimination.
Wendy Bee is among them.
She is the President of the Akron-Kent chapter of NORML.
“There’s a lot of patients that this is the only medicine that will help them. They have gone through the gamut of the pharmaceuticals and they can’t get what they need with that, so they should allow it (in the workplace)” added Bee.
Campbell says those employees who are taking other legal prescription drugs that can cause impairment are required to get a release from their doctor to perform their jobs.
She says she is already getting many calls from other townships and municipalities asking to see their policy.
Under the policy any employee, including herself, can and will be randomly tested and anyone who tests positive for medical marijuana will face consequences, even if they have a prescription.
“You will absolutely be disciplined, up to and including termination,” said Campbell.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Plain Township Employees Will Not Be Permitted To Use Medical Marijuana
Author: Dave Nethers
Photo Credit: Chris Young
Website: Fox 8