New medical marijuana laws may test workplace drug policies

Local News

Now with medical marijuana legal, employers are now faced with the challenge of whether to change their drug-free workplace policy or allow the use of medical marijuana. 

There are only two choices companies can make: Allow employees to use medical marijuana or ban it from the workplace. 

House Bill 523 leaves the decision in the employers’ hands. 

Advance CNC Machining in Grove City makes manufacturing parts for companies locally and nationally.

With more than 40 workers, the company has a drug-free workplace policy. 

“We’ve been drug-free since 2007 and the reason why we went drug-free was because of workers comp claims,” said Jeremy Hamilton, owner of Advance CNC Machining.

Hamilton says they found that workers comp claims went from four a year down to one in four years after enforcing a drug-free workplace policy.  And they plan to keep it that way. 

“Marijuana is the number one drug as far as prevalence of testing,” said Karen Pierce, managing director of Working Partners. 

Working Partners is a training consultant firm in Canal Winchester that collaborates with businesses primarily on drug-free workplace issues.  

“This new law doesn’t have to change their policy in essence. I think what one of the problems is, is that there are so many misconceptions about that. From the employer and the employee side,” said Pierce. 

Pierce says it is important employers have a conversation with their employees and make sure they know the companies drug policy. 

Medical marijuana users don’t have the same rules in Ohio as patients who take prescription drugs.  Employers have the right to allow the use of medical marijuana in their company or not.

“Even with medical marijuana coming on being allowed in some places, for us we decided we are going to stay the course and continue to be drug-free,” said Hamilton. 

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