July 28, 2021

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Legal Insider: Implications in Virginia on Employers and New Marijuana Law

Legal Insider: Implications in Virginia on Employers and New Marijuana Law

This is a sponsored column by lawyers John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an work and labor legislation company located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal worker, safety clearance, retirement and personal sector personnel issues.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Virginia recently decriminalized a lot of marijuana-related concerns via legislation. As a end result, the possession of limited quantities of marijuana will be legal in Virginia, powerful July 1, 2021, with specified constraints.

Numerous businesses and workers have started to issue how this new state regulation will influence them. There are lots of issues to be answered. For instance, can employers complete drug tests on personnel or hearth them for using marijuana outside of perform hrs? This transient short article will touch on the impression of the new Virginia marijuana legislation.

Federal Marijuana Law Stays the Similar

It is crucial to comprehend that the transform in Virginia regulation does not have an impact on the actuality that marijuana use continues to be unlawful under federal law. For occasion, if an employee retains a security clearance, they can rapidly shed it (and their work) for any marijuana usage (at operate or at property) inspite of compact quantities now being lawful on the condition level. Until Congress variations the Managed Substances Act, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug (together with heroin and LSD) and a criminal offense.

Virginia Regulation Alterations

The freshly enacted law permits men and women in Virginia who are in excess of the age of 21 to have up to an ounce of marijuana and increase up to 4 cannabis plants at dwelling. Formerly, accomplishing so was a prison offense. On top of that, grownups who are caught with a lot more than an ounce but fewer than a pound of marijuana will deal with a prospective $25 fantastic. Lastly, any older people caught with much more than a pound can be charged with a felony punishable by 1 to 10 yrs in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

While income of cannabis are illegal, the laws permits gifting up to an ounce of the drug to any adult.

Work Law Issues Stay with Cannabis Use in Virginia

In terms of work legislation, the new legislation ought to reduce, but not close, several employer’s limits on worker off-several hours use of marijuana. I eventually see a gradual lessening of drug screening over time for insignificant usage in non-essential or non-federal government safety positions. There will be many exceptions to this, having said that. On top of that, nothing at all in the new regulation changes the actuality that companies can continue to enforce drug guidelines even though Virginia has legalized marijuana.

Breaking an employer’s plan could however outcome in termination. Moreover, several security clearance and safety-dependent occupations are matter to drug policies, which require employees to go drug exams and can contain staff in the security, construction, clinical and authorities sectors, and many others. There are many other exceptions in the laws, 283 webpages in duration, which is bundled in the link earlier mentioned.

The new law also does not get rid of the capacity of an employer to require that employees not be impaired by cannabis at do the job. Furthermore, employers could most likely set up insurance policies stating that it will deny work to any individual employing an unlawful substance under the Controlled Material Act. Employers will also be capable to build guidelines that staff are not authorized to possess marijuana on employer residence. Furthermore, use of cannabis is even now illegal for people under the age of 21. And lastly, there may be some probable guidance for the fair lodging of personnel that need to have healthcare marijuana use for health-related conditions and who perform for certain employers.

This is a new legislation, and it will just take some time for companies and employees to fully kind out the total ramifications. For now, even though selected amounts of cannabis usage are lawful in Virginia, it does not signify an staff could not be fired for working with it. On the other hand, the new Virginia law will give some businesses leeway to be significantly less stringent in their cannabis guidelines ought to they pick to do so.

Conclusion

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