Mississippi - Considerations for Marijuana in the Workplace

Medical
Marijuana Law:

Recreational
Marijuana Law:

Employer Concerns – Significant to Review

  • The original Initiative 65 which dealt with medical marijuana was struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May 2021 with the new law, Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (“MMCA”), being signed into law February 2022.
  • Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) is 445 pages in length and states that employers,
    • may establish and enforce a drug testing policy which includes testing for marijuana.
    • are not required to permit onsite use, to accommodate the use of marijuana in employment, or to alter any existing drug testing laws, regulations, or rules. Note however that the debilitating medical conditions allowed for under the MMCA will in all likelihood qualify as a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore under federal law may call for accommodation.
    • can refuse to hire or take adverse employment action for use of medical marijuana with or without impairment.
    • and their workers’ compensation, or other insurance carriers are not required to pay for or reimburse any costs associated with medical marijuana use.
  • MMCA does not create a private right of action by an employee against an employer nor does it affect the existing legal relationship between an employer and employee of any existing law or regulation relating to such relationship.
  • MMCA says that a civil or criminal penalty may be imposed for smoking medical cannabis in a public place or in a motor vehicle which includes vaping and any other method of inhalation.
  • In 2019, Mississippi amended state laws to align with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill which legalizes hemp-derived CBD that does not exceed 0.3% THC. Additionally, for specifically defined, qualified patients, cannabis extract, oil, or resin that contains more than 15% CBD and less than 0.5% THC and be obtained from the National Products Research at the University of Mississippi.
  • Mississippi has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for limited legal protections.
  • There is a Mississippi workers’ compensation premium discount available if the employer follows the allowable guidelines of their insurer.

Testing

  • Mississippi has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for limited legal protections.

Hiring/Termination

  • Employers can refuse to hire or take adverse employment action for use of medical marijuana with or without impairment.

Discipline

  • Employers can refuse to hire or take adverse employment action for use of medical marijuana with or without impairment.

Use/Possession

  • See Significant above.
  • MMCA allows medical cannabis products to include cannabis flower, extracts, edibles, beverages, topical products, oils, ointments, tinctures, and suppositories.

Other Impacting Laws

(e.g., drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)
  • Mississippi has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for limited legal protections.
  • There is a Mississippi workers’ compensation premium discount available if the employer follows the allowable guidelines of their insurer.
  • (Mississippi SB 2569), it is against the law for an individual to sell, distribute, manufacture, market or give away human or synthetic urine for the purpose of adulterating a drug test specimen.
  • An employee will be disqualified for unemployment benefits if he or she is discharged based on willful misconduct due to a confirmed positive drug test result.
  • The employee will be disqualified from workers’ compensation benefits if he or she refuses a post-accident drug test or if a drug test is positive for any illegally used drug, use of a valid prescription medication taken contrary to the prescriber’s instructions and/or contrary to label warnings.
  • 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)
  • Mississippi Senate Bill 2095 (Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Act) – Medical marijuana
  • Mary Hawkins Butler v. Michael Watson, 2020-IA-01199-SCT -Medical marijuana 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).