State Laws on Off-Duty Marijuana Use

Learn more about off-duty marijuana use laws your state.

Almost half of the states now have medical marijuana laws, allowing people with serious medical conditions to use marijuana with a doctor’s authorization and a card from the state. However, just because marijuana is legal in many states doesn’t mean that it’s allowed in the employment context. In most states, employers are free to fire, discipline, or take other adverse action against an employee who uses marijuana at work or shows up to work under the influence of marijuana—even if they need it to treat a medical condition.

However, when it comes to off-duty medical marijuana use, the states are divided. About a dozen states prohibit employers from discriminating against medical marijuana cardholders or from firing employees for testing positive for marijuana due to off-duty use. Some of these states also require employers to reasonably accommodate an employee who needs medical marijuana to treat a medical condition—for example, by allowing an employee to start work later in the morning because she uses medical marijuana at night to treat glaucoma. Several other states, on the other hand, explicitly allow employers to fire employees for off-duty medical marijuana use. And some states don’t clearly address the issue—but courts in several of these states have sided with the employer, holding that employers can fire employees for off-duty use of medical marijuana.

More states have also legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in recent years. However, most of them allow employers to enforce zero-tolerance drug policies and fire employees for off-duty use. Only one state so far, Maine, protects off-duty recreational marijuana use.

To learn more, select your state from the list below. If a state is not listed, it does not have a medical or recreational marijuana law that addresses employment.

Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Illinois | Maine | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Montana | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Dakota | Ohio | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia

Alaska

Alaska Stat. Ann. §§ 17.37.010 to 17.37.080, 17.38.010 to 17.38.050

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate medical or recreational marijuana use in the workplace.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 36-2801 to 36-2819

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate against medical marijuana users based solely on their status as registered cardholders or for testing positive on a drug test for marijuana, unless it would cause the employer to lose money or licensing benefits under federal law. Employers may fire or take other adverse action against employees who use, possess, or are impaired by medical marijuana on company property or during work hours.

Arkansas

Ark. Const. amend. XCVIII, §§ 3, 6

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers. Employers with 9 or more employees may not discriminate against applicants or employees based on past or present status as a medical marijuana cardholder or as a designated caregiver for a physically disabled medical marijuana patient. Employers may take adverse action against employee based on a good faith belief that the employee used, possessed, or was impaired by medical marijuana on company property or during work hours. A positive drug test alone is not sufficient grounds for a good faith belief. Employers may, however, exclude employees from safety-sensitive positions based on a positive drug test.

Employees called to active state duty as a member of the armed forces of Arkansas or any other state (including the state national guard, militia, and reserves) have the same leave and reinstatement rights and benefits guaranteed under USERRA.

California

Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 11362.5, 11362.7 to 11362.9; Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 11362.1 to 11362.45; Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications, Inc., 42 Cal.4th 920 (2008)

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate medical or recreational marijuana use in the workplace. Employers may fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even if the use was off duty and for a medical condition with a valid medical marijuana card.

Colorado

Colo. Const. art. XVIII, §§ 14, 16; Coats v. Dish Network, LLC, 350 P.3d 849 (2015)

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate medical or recreational marijuana use in the workplace. Employer may fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even for off-duty use with a valid medical marijuana card.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 21a-408 to 21a-408v

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees based on their status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver of a qualifying patient under medical marijuana laws. Employers may prohibit employees from using marijuana during work hours and discipline employees for being under the influence of marijuana during work hours.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 4901A to 4928a

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate against medical marijuana users based on their status as registered cardholders or for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test, unless it would cause the employer to lose money or other licensing-related benefits under federal law. Employers may take adverse action against employees who use, possess, or are impaired by marijuana on company property or during work hours.

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-1671.01 to 7-1671.13; 48-904.01

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers: Medical marijuana statute does not address employment. Recreational marijuana law does not require employers to allow or accommodate the use or possession of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may enforce policies restricting use of recreational marijuana by employees.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 381.986

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace or allow an employee to work under the influence of marijuana.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-12-190, 16-12-191, 31-2A-18

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to allow or accommodate the use or possession of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may enforce a zero-tolerance drug policy and terminate employees for testing positive for marijuana, even for off-duty use.

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 329-121 to 329-131

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Medical marijuana law does not authorize use in the workplace.

Illinois

410 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. §§ 130/30 to 130/50

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate based solely on status as a registered medical marijuana patient or designated caregiver of a medical marijuana patient, unless it would cause the employer to violate federal law or lose money or licensing-related benefits under federal law. Employers may take adverse action based on a good faith belief that the employee used or possessed marijuana on company property or during work hours. Employers may also take adverse action based on a good faith belief that the employee was impaired while working on company property during work hours, but the employee must be given a chance to challenge the basis for the determination.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 22, §§ 2421 to 2430-B; Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 7, §§ 2441 to 2455

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers:

Medical marijuana: Employers may not discriminate based on status as a medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver of a medical marijuana patient, unless it would cause the employer to violate federal law or lose a federal contract or funding. Employers are not required to allow employees to smoke marijuana on company premises or allow employees to work under the influence of marijuana.

Recreational marijuana: Employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees based on purely off-duty marijuana use. However, employers are not required to accommodate use or possession of marijuana at the workplace and may discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana at work.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 94I §§ 1 to 8; 105 Mass. Code Regs. 725.650; Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, 477 Mass. 456 (2017); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 94G, § 2

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers:

Medical marijuana: Employers are not required to accommodate on-site use of medical marijuana at the workplace. However, an employee who uses medical marijuana to treat a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation under the state disability discrimination law. Under that law, employers with 6 or more employees must accommodate off-site, off-duty use, unless there is an equally effective alternative treatment available or it would cause the employer undue hardship.

Recreational marijuana: Employers are not required to accommodate recreational marijuana use in the workplace. Employers may enforce workplace policies restricting marijuana consumption by employees.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Law §§ 333.26421 to 333.26430, 333.26424, 333.26427; Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428 (2012)

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate marijuana use at the workplace or allow an employee to work under the influence of marijuana. Employers may fire employee for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test, even when the use was off duty and the employee had a valid medical marijuana card.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 152.21 to 152.37

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees based on status as a registered medical marijuana patient or for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test, unless it would cause the employer to violate federal law or lose money or licensing-related benefits under federal law. Employers may take adverse action against an employee who uses, possesses, or is impaired by marijuana on company property or during work hours.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. §§ 50-46-301 to 50-46-345

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana by a registered cardholder. As part of an employment contract, employers may include a provision prohibiting an employee's use of medical marijuana.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 453A.800, 453D.100

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers:

Medical marijuana: Employers are not required to allow use of medical marijuana in the workplace. However, employers must try to make reasonable accommodations for registered medical marijuana patients, as long as it would not pose a safety threat to people or property, cause an undue hardship, or prevent the employee from fulfilling his or her job responsibilities.

Recreational marijuana: Employers may enforce a workplace policy prohibiting or restricting use of recreational marijuana by employees.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 126-X:1 to 126-X:11

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate use of medical marijuana on company property. Employers may discipline employees for using marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of marijuana.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 24:6I-1 to 24:6I-16

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate use of medical marijuana in the workplace.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 26-2B-1 to 26-2B-7; Garcia v. Tractor Supply Company, 154 F.Supp.3d 1225 (2016)

Legal user: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may fire or discipline medical marijuana users based on a positive drug test.

New York

N.Y. Pub. Health Law §§ 3360 to 3369-E; N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 10, § 1004.18

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees based on status as a medical marijuana patient, but they may enforce a policy that prohibits employees from working while impaired by marijuana. Employers with four or more employees must also provide reasonable accommodations to medical marijuana users. Employers are not required to take any action that would cause them to violate federal law or lose a federal contract or funding.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code Ann. §§ 19-24.1-01 to 19-24.1-40

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may discipline employees for possessing or using marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of marijuana.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 3796.01 to 3796.30

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate an employee’s use or possession of medical marijuana. Employers may enforce zero-tolerance drug policies and discipline, fire, or refuse to hire medical marijuana users.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 475B.413, 475B.020; Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries, 230 P.3d 518 (2010)

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers:

Medical marijuana: Employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace. Employers may fire or discipline employees for testing positive for marijuana, even if the use was off duty and with a valid medical marijuana card.

Recreational marijuana: The law does not impose any restrictions on employers.

Pennsylvania

35 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 10231.510, 10231.1309, 10231.2103

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate based on status as a medical marijuana patient. Employers may discipline employees for being under the influence of marijuana at the workplace, or for working while under the influence of medical marijuana, but only when the employee’s conduct falls below the normally accepted standard of care for that job. Employers are not required to accommodate medical marijuana use on company property and may prohibit employees from performing any duty that would pose a health or safety risk. Employers are not required to take any action that would violate federal law.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 21-28.6-4, 21-28.6-7; Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., No. PC-2014-5680 (R.I. Super. 2017)

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers are not required to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace. However, employers may not refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person based solely upon the person's status as a medical marijuana patient or for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, §§ 4230a, 4471 to 4474m

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers:

Medical marijuana: The law does not address employment.

Recreational marijuana: Employers are not required to accommodate, and may regulate or prohibit, use or possession of marijuana in the workplace.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.51A.060; Roe v. TeleTech Customer Care Mgt. (Colorado) LLC, 257 P.3d 586 (Wash. 2011); Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.4013

Legal use: Medical and recreational marijuana

Rules for employers: Medical marijuana: Employers may establish a drug-free workplace policy, in which case no accommodation for medical marijuana use is required. Employers may refuse to hire applicants or fire employees for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test, even if the use was off duty.

Recreational marijuana: The law does not address employment.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code Ann. §§ 16A-5-10, 16A-15-4

Legal use: Medical marijuana only

Rules for employers: Employers may not discriminate against employees based solely on their status as certified to use medical marijuana. Employers may discipline an employee for falling below normally accepted standard of care while under the influence of medical marijuana. Employers may also prohibit employees from performing any duty that would be life-threatening, or that would pose a public health or safety risk, while under the influence of marijuana. Employers are not required to take any action that would violate federal law.

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