Maryland - Considerations for Marijuana in the Workplace

Medical
Marijuana Law:

Recreational
Marijuana Law:

No Broad Laws
Legalizing Marijuana*:

*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.

Employer Concerns – Significant to Review

  • Maryland has passed a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana (Maryland HB 1) but it requires ratification in the November 2022 election. It establishes that on or after July 1, 2023, an individual who is at least 21 may use and possess cannabis. It does not address workplace issues.
  • Maryland has passed a bill to decriminalize recreational marijuana (Maryland HB 837), but it requires ratification in November’s 2022 election. This bill addresses provisions related to penalties and sentencing for certain offenses involving cannabis. It does not address employers or workplaces.
  • Maryland law does not prevent employers from prohibiting possession, use, or testing for marijuana use, and it does not protect employees who test positive for any reason. (Reference, Patient FAQ, “My employer tests for drug use including cannabis. Can they test me if I am a medical cannabis patient? Can they fire me if I use medical cannabis?” available at http://mmcc.maryland.gov/Pages/patients_faq.aspx)
  • (Maryland Code, Health-General § 13-3313) A qualifying patient must not be denied any right or privilege as the result of a medical marijuana status provided the patient is complying with the law.
  • Maryland’s law also states that it does not prevent the imposition of, (Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 13-3314(a)(1)) “civil, criminal, or other penalties for “using medical marijuana” when doing so would constitute negligence…” which could impact an employer’s operations.
  • Health insurance companies are not required to cover medical marijuana costs.
  • If an employer is going to do drug testing, Maryland has very detailed requirements that must be followed, violation of which is a misdemeanor subject to steep fines.
  • Driving under the influence of medical marijuana is a crime.

Testing

  • Maryland law does not prevent employers from prohibiting possession, use, or testing for marijuana use, and it does not protect employees who test positive for any reason. (See Significant above)
  • If an employer is going to do drug testing, Maryland has very detailed requirements that must be followed, violation of which is a misdemeanor subject to steep fines.
  • Individuals qualified as “certifying providers,” include individuals registered and licensed in a medical, dentistry, podiatry, or nursing field, among other requirements.

Hiring/Termination

  • See Significant above.

Discipline

  • Maryland law does not prevent employers from prohibiting possession, use, or testing for marijuana use, and it does not protect employees who test positive for any reason.

Use/Possession

  • Maryland law does not prevent employers from prohibiting possession, use, or testing for marijuana use, and it does not protect employees who test positive for any reason. (See Significant above)
  • Edibles are now allowed (2019) but not available at licensed dispensaries.
  • Smoking is permitted, except in any public place where smoking tobacco is prohibited or in a motor vehicle. Beyond that, there are specific limitations when on private property.
  • Cannot be consumed by either the driver or passenger in a motor vehicle.

Other Impacting Laws

(e.g., drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)
  • Workers’ compensation claim denial – Although an injury is not compensable when intoxication on duty is the sole or primary cause of the injury, note that unless there is substantial evidence to the contrary, it will be assumed that an injury is not caused solely or primarily by the effects of drugs.
  • Maryland’s HB 83, prohibits the Maryland Judiciary Case Search from referring in any way to the existence of a District Court criminal case in which possession of marijuana is the only charge in the case and the case was disposed of before October 1, 2014 (effecting nearly 200,000 criminal charges). Full expungement is available after 4 years.
  • Apply the Checklist of Impacting Issues to Research provided by NDS for additional state laws and issues that can relate to and/or impact your operations regarding employee use of marijuana.

Sources

(e.g., Bill Number, Authority)
  • Maryland Code Lab. and Emp. 9-506 – Workers’ compensation related
  • Maryland Code Health Gen. 13-3314 – Medical marijuana
  • http://mmcc.maryland.gov/Pages/patients_faq.aspx – Medical marijuana Patient FAQ 
  • Maryland Code Health-Gen. § 13-3313(a) – Medical marijuana
  • Maryland HB 1 – Recreational marijuana
  • Maryland HB 837 – Recreational marijuana
  • Maryland Code Health Gen. 17-214 to 217 Drug testing related
  • Maryland Reg. Code 10.10.10.01 to .09 – Drug testing related
  • Maryland’s Fair Employment Practices Act – Disability related
  • Maryland HB 83 – Criminal procedure
  • Maryland Code Lab. and Emp. 8-1002 – Unemployment related
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).

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