Rhode Island - 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.
An individual can register as a medical marijuana patient if a physician certifies that the individual suffers from one or more of the cited conditions.
Nothing in statute requires the employer to accommodate use of marijuana in the workplace.
Cannot refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person solely upon the person’s status as a qualified medical marijuana patient.
Review the Rhode Island case, Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., No. PC-2014-5680 (R.I. Super. 2017), for its ramifications dealing with disability protections and impact on operations around employee use of marijuana – particularly whether an applicant who is a qualified medical marijuana patient has disability protection following a positive pre-employment drug test (refer to counsel).
If an employer is going to do drug testing, she or he will need to follow Rhode Island’s mandatory guidelines which are limiting and include when and how testing can happen, requirements about consequences for a positive test, and potential employer fines and jail time for non-compliance. These statutes can seriously impact an employer’s operations around employee use of marijuana.
There are very strict requirements about testing in their mandatory drug testing law including when and how testing can happen, requirements about consequences for a positive test, and potential employer fines and jail time for non-compliance.
Cannot refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person solely based as the status of a registered patient for medical marijuana.
Cannot penalize a person solely upon the person’s status as a qualified medical marijuana patient or for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test.
Although this statement in the statute does not identify employers per se, it states that no qualifying patient should be subject to (Rhode Island Gen. Laws 21-28.6.4) “…disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau for the medical use of marijuana provided, that the qualifying patient cardholder possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed twelve (12) mature marijuana plants that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags, two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana, or its equivalent amount, and an amount of wet marijuana to be set by regulations promulgated by the departments of health and business regulation.”
There are very specific requirements about the consequences following a positive test in Rhode Island’s mandatory drug testing law.
See Discipline above.
Smoking is permitted.
Other Impacting Laws
(e.g., drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)
If an employer is going to do employee or applicant drug testing, there are specific, very strict requirements about drug testing protocols and consequences for a positive test in Rhode Island’s mandatory requirements. These statutes can seriously impact an employer’s operations around employee use of marijuana.
(Rhode Island Gen. Laws 28-6.5-1(c)) An employer who subjects any person employed by him or her to a drug test, except as provided for by Rhode Island’s mandatory testing law, (Rhode Island Gen. Laws 28-6.5-1(b), “…shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or not more than one year in jail, or both.”
(Rhode Island Gen. Laws 28-33-2) “No compensation shall be allowed for the injury or death of an employee occasioned by his or her willful intention … where it is proved that his or her injury or death … resulted from his or her intoxication or unlawful use of controlled substances as defined in chapter 28 of title 21.”
Rhode Island Gen. Laws 21-28.6-1 to 7 – Medical marijuana
Rhode Island Gen. Laws 28-6.5-1(a) – Drug testing related
Rhode Island Gen. Laws 28-44-18 – Unemployment related
Rhode Island Gen. Laws 28-33-2 – Workers’ compensation related
Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., No. PC-2014-5680 (R.I. Super. 2017) – Case decision
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.
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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