Delaware is the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana, allowing individuals 21 years old and older to possess and recreationally use up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
The law allows adults to possess and use 1 ounce or less of leaf marijuana, 12 grams or less of concentrated cannabis, or cannabis products containing 750 milligrams or less of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
This occurred on April 23, 2023, when Governor John Carney failed to veto two bills that allowed for the legalization of marijuana.
Carney said he couldn’t sign the bills because of his concerns about consequences recreational marijuana will have on children’s health, as well as roadway safety, USA Today states.
Employers don’t have to permit use
The law legalizing recreational marijuana is effective immediately, according to law firm Jackson Lewis. Use of recreational marijuana in public is still illegal in the state.
Nothing in the law is “intended to impact or impose any requirement or restriction on employers with respect to terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to accommodation, policies or discipline.”
That means employers don’t have to permit marijuana use at work or during work time. It also means employers can still drug test for marijuana and discipline employees for positive test results.
Medical marijuana users still protected
However, one big caveat for employers is that medical marijuana is still protected under Delaware’s 2011 medical marijuana law. The recreational marijuana law doesn’t change anything for medical marijuana users.
With that in mind, employers can’t discriminate against anyone in hiring, termination or under any condition of employment if that discrimination is based on:
- the person’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder, or
- the registered cardholder’s positive drug test for marijuana unless the individual used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during their hours of employment.
Considering the growing list of states that are legalizing recreational marijuana, Jackson Lewis recommends that employers “review their drug and alcohol policies frequently to ensure that they are complying with all applicable state and local marijuana laws.”