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Marijuana Considerations & Laws In Massachusetts

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.


Read more employment specific information on:

Employer Concerns

  • Medical marijuana: Employers are not required to accommodate employee use of marijuana on site. 
  • An employee who is legally using medical marijuana to treat a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation under the state disability discrimination law.
  • Employers with six or more employees must accommodate off-site, off-duty use of medical marijuana, unless there is an equally effective alternative treatment available or it would cause the employer undue hardship. 
  • Employers are not required to accommodate recreational marijuana use in the workplace. 
  • Employers may enforce workplace policies restricting marijuana consumption by employees. 
  • Regarding obligations and rights related to drug testing in Massachusetts (MA), give high attention to MA case decisions.

Testing

  • Although there is no specific drug testing law for Massachusetts employers, in general because of case law decisions, an experienced, state-specific attorney should be involved before implementing drug testing-related policies and programs. 
  • Massachusetts has narrow privacy law which has implications to an employer’s drug testing operations.

Hiring/Termination


Discipline


Use/Possession

  • Must be on private property to consume. 
  • Prohibited to be smoked, vaped or eaten in public and cannot be smoked where tobacco is prohibited. 
  • Can carry in user’s vehicle as long as driver nor passenger consume marijuana in the vehicle. 
  • Cannot be under the influence while operating a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft.

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

  • 105 CMR 725.650 Addresses that 
    • Nothing in the marijuana law limits the applicability of other law as it pertains to the rights of employers and other identified entities. 
    • Health insurance providers, government agencies or authorities are not required to reimburse for expense of medical marijuana. 
    • Health professionals are not required to authorize the use of medical marijuana for a patient. 
  • Unemployment will be denied if an employee is discharged for deliberate misconduct consisting of (Mass. Gen. Laws 1-XXI-151A-25) “(ii) illegal drug use while at work; or (iii) drunkenness while at work shall be determined to be ineligible for benefits without regard to whether or not the employer had a written policy against such conduct.” 

Miscellaneous


Sources (e.g. Bill Number, Authority)

  • 2012 Mass. Act 369 – Medical marijuana
  • 105 CMR 725.650 – Medical marijuana
  • Massachusetts Gen. Laws 94G – Recreational marijuana
  • Folmsbee v. Tech Tool Grinding & Supply, Inc. (1994) 417 Mass. 388 – Court decision
  • Webster v. Motorola, Inc. (1994) 418 Mass. 425 – Court decision
  • Gen. Laws 1-XXI-151A-25 – Unemployment related
  • Gen. Laws 1-XXI-152-27 – 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).

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