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Marijuana Considerations & Laws In Georgia

Medical
Marijuana Law:

Recreational
Marijuana Law:

No Broad Laws
Legalizing Marijuana*:

*In these states, marijuana is either totally illegal, or there may be laws decriminalizing possession, or use of marijuana, or, the state may have a CBD law legalizing THC at a level constituting marijuana-derived CBD.


Employers have so many questions! Learn More About Workplace Considerations for Marijuana Use.

What are the impacting issues of marijuana use? Review Our Checklist of Impacting Issues to Research.

Employment Information

Employer Concerns

  • Only low-THC (marijuana-derived) medical cannabis oil will be permitted.
  • Currently, qualified persons are protected from prosecution for having it in their possession, but it is not available in state. It is anticipated that in-state production/sale of medical marijuana-derived CBD with no more than 5% THC will be available in state within a year.
  • An employer is not required to accommodate use on or off the job and can enforce a zero-tolerance policy.
  • An employer can prohibit an employee from working under the influence of medical cannabis.
  • Any amount of marijuana present in a driver’s blood or urine is considered a violation of Georgia’s code.
  • Georgia has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for a workers’ compensation premium discount. It does require testing for marijuana.
  • Georgia has unemployment and workers’ compensation voluntary laws that, although not required, with compliance, an employer has greater latitude to deny claims.

Testing

  • Georgia has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for a workers’ compensation premium discount. It does require testing for marijuana and many more details required of a testing program.  For example,
    • An employer must give employees 60 days advance notice before implementing drug testing. Supervisors must receive qualified training and employees must receive routine education.

Hiring/Termination

  • Because Georgia’s drug testing law mentions (Georgia Code Ann. 34-9-414), “…actions the employer may take against an employee or job applicant on the basis of a positive confirmed test result,” it is presumed that the employer has latitude to declare and maintain discipline up to and including termination for policy violations.
  • An individual shall be disqualified for unemployment benefits if he or she has been discharged or suspended for violation of the employer’s drug-free workplace policy or more stringent standards established by federal law or regulations, including a positive drug test.

Discipline

  • Because Georgia’s drug testing law mentions (Georgia Code Ann. 34-9-414), “…actions the employer may take against an employee or job applicant on the basis of a positive confirmed test result,” it is presumed that the employer has latitude to declare and maintain discipline up to and including termination for policy violations.

Use/Possession

  • Only low-THC (marijuana-derived) medical cannabis oil is permitted.
  • Smoking and vaporizing cannabis is prohibited and illegal.

Other Impacting Laws (e.g. drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)

  • Georgia has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for a workers’ compensation premium discount. It does require testing for marijuana.
  • Georgia has unemployment and workers’ compensation voluntary laws that, although not required, with compliance, an employer has greater latitude to deny claims. For example,
    • An individual shall be disqualified for unemployment benefits if he or she has been discharged or suspended for violation of the employer’s drug-free workplace policy or more stringent standards established by federal law or regulations, including a positive drug test.
    • If there is any level of marijuana in the employee’s system within 8 hours of the accident, there will be rebuttable presumption that the accident/injury was caused by substance and therefore not compensable for workers’ compensation.

Sources (e.g. Bill Number, Authority)

  • Georgia Code Ann. 16-12-190 – Medical marijuana
  • Georgia Code Ann. 34-9-410 to 421 – Drug testing related
  • Georgia Code Ann. 34-8-194 – Unemployment law
  • Georgia Code Ann. 34-9-17 – Workers’ compensation related

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DISCLAIMER: This resource is designed to provide accurate information regarding the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that those involved in the resource are not engaged in rendering legal counsel. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

CAUTION: Where there are quotation marks, the language is directly from published law. This information is only a summary of some issues and it will benefit the reader to review the information in context (go to the law) and in relation to other laws (e.g. workers compensation, unemployment law).