Massachusetts residents will soon be able to legally possess, smoke, and consume marijuana (with some restrictions). However, there are still pitfalls that you should be aware of, even after legalization. Indeed, if you are not careful, you may risk getting fired over conduct that isn’t illegal.
Four Key Points for Employees
1. Don’t possess or use marijuana while at work. Employers are likely to fire employees who do so and employers may do so lawfully. Regardless of whether the employer has a specific policy in place, employees should never possess or use marijuana while at work. It isn’t work the risk to possess or smoke while on the job.
2. Even if you possess or use marijuana at home, you can still be fired for doing so. As such, Massachusetts employees planning to possess, smoke, or consume the drug should keep in mind that although doing so may be legal, they risk losing their jobs if their employer finds out. Just because you’re doing it on your own time doesn’t mean you can’t be fired for it.
3. If you possess or use marijuana in order to treat a disability or medical illness, you may want to consult with an attorney to address ways to do so without risking your job. For example, if you believe you can both treat your illness and/or disability by using the drug at home, while safely and capably performing your job duties at work, you should consider discussing this with an attorney, who can advise you about your rights.
4. Finally, even though employers may fire employees for possessing or using marijuana, it is still illegal to fire employees for discriminatory reasons. If you feel that you were wrongfully terminated or discriminated against, and your employer is merely using your marijuana usage as a cover for their actions, you should consider consulting an attorney to protect your workplace rights. Discrimination is never lawful.
Ackerstein Law can work with employees with questions about Massachusetts legalization of marijuana and how it impacts their employment. Rather than take unnecessary risks with your job, you should consider addressing any potential issues before they turn into a problem. Don’t let legalization cost you your job.