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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 12, 2021 11:33 AM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Medical Marijuana and the Workplace
In the near future, I will be re-introducing Senate Bill 1360 from last session to provide more clarity for both employees and employers in the use of medical marijuana in the workplace. 
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2016 via Act 16 while its use was unlawful under federal law.  Four years later, its use is still illegal under federal law.  While this may or may not change in the future, this inconsistency has created issues for employers since guidelines for managing an employee or applicant’s use of a legal prescription drug are set at the federal level and therefore cannot be applied to medical marijuana use. 
Act 16 seems to recognize this issue and does include a number of provisions related to the workplace aimed to protect employees in the context of an employment decision.  While these provisions were surely included in good faith, employers have reported significant uncertainty and confusion interpreting what the law expects of them when medical marijuana becomes a factor in their workplace. 
This legislation will help address this ambiguity in several ways, including, among others:
  • defining several key terms;
  • providing guidance for employers, employees and job applicants related to drug testing;
  • outlining the circumstances under which disclosure of medical marijuana use may be required for safety-sensitive positions; and
  • clarifying how medical marijuana should be treated as it relates to unemployment compensation and workers' compensation laws. 
It is important to note this legislation does not affect the key provision of Act 16 that advocates to prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against an individual solely based on medical marijuana use.  It will simply address the confusion Act 16 has caused in the workplace and give Pennsylvania employers and employees the clarification and solid guidance they are seeking. 

Previous co-sponsors of Senate Bill 1360 were Senators K. WARD, PITTMAN, J. WARD, STEFANO, MARTIN, ARGALL, YAW AND ARNOLD.

Introduced as SB749