Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has signed into law the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act. This new law legalizes medical marijuana, making Alabama the 37th state to do so, and identifies numerous qualifying medical conditions. However, this new law does not impose significant obligations on employers.
Employers are still permitted to maintain drug-free workplaces, and this law makes clear that it imposes no new legal restrictions on employers. Employers are still allowed to mandate drug testing and may continue to receive workers’ compensation premium discounts for doing so. They may also continue to deny payment of workers’ compensation benefits on the presumption because of a positive test or refusal to submit to one.
Employees may be required to notify their employer of possessing a medical marijuana card, and employers are not required to provide accommodations or modify jobs even if they permit the employee. This law establishes no right of action for individuals related to adverse actions taken by an employer due to the use of medical marijuana.
Finally, this law does not impede any federal regulations regarding employment. Despite the lack of interference with an employer’s right to maintain a drug-free workplace, employers may wish to review their policies to account for the introduction of medical marijuana.