Legislature Actively Working to Finalize Ohio’s Legal Cannabis Law
(December 8, 2023) With the November passage of Issue 2, Ohio’s statue to legalize commercial cannabis, the legislature has been working feverously to pass a bill that would modify and refine the specifications of that law.
Earlier this week the house introduced and passed HB 86 which included several significant changes to Issue 2, none of which pertained directly to employers. Yesterday, the Senate sent their substitution bill back to the House and, if passed, will move to the governor for signature.
Among others, HB 86 would make these modifications to Issue 2:
- Home Grow: Limits the amount of marijuana per residence to 6 plants, down from the Issue 2 allowance of 12.
- Potency: Retain 35 percent THC content for plants and decrease from 90 percent to 50 percent for THC extracts (like edibles).
- Timeline for Legal Purchase: Would allow citizens to purchase marijuana at existing medical dispensaries immediately after the bill is passed
- Public Smoking: Imposes a “NO SMOKING” public ban, which was not included in Issue 2.
What has NOT been modified in HB 86 are the protections Issue 2 offered the employer:
- Employers do not have to allow employees to use, possess or distribute cannabis;
- They are allowed to create or maintain their drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero tolerance drug policy;
- They are allowed to hire, discharge, discipline, and take “adverse employment action” against employees who use or possess the drug; and
- An employee who is discharged from employment because of their use of cannabis will be considered to have been discharged for “just cause.”
Working Partners® anticipates the legislature will continue to move swiftly, as the Governor has reportedly insisted the issue be resolved quickly. In the meantime, employers, you are allowed to maintain your current drug-free workplace policies and practices around the use, possession and distribution of marijuana.
Stay alert to upcoming updates and information from Working Partners®, and of course call for support with any immediate issue or incident.