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“I want you to make a decision rationally and not emotionally,” Pierce told the business leaders gathered at Clark State Community College’s Brinkman Educational Center.
The legislation allows patients who have one of 21 medical conditions, including cancer and Parkinson’s disease, to seek a physician’s recommendation and acquire a medical marijuana card. Patients cannot grow marijuana in their homes. And it must be consumed in the form of edibles, patches or vaporizing. Smoking isn’t allowed.
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Pierce also noted that although marijuana has been legalized for those specific medical conditions in Ohio, it’s still illegal at the federal level. It’s also critical employers clearly explain their policies to workers, whether an employer decides to accommodate use of marijuana or ban it.
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State officials were transparent when developing the existing rules, she said but it’s still a complicated issue for employers.
“When Ohio was putting together their law, they did a phenomenal job of driving around the state and hearing from people,” Pierce said.
Companies who deal with large federal contracts are likely barred from accommodating workers who choose to use medical marijuana because of the federal restrictions, she said. Employers with workers who travel also need to be aware that the rules vary by state.
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Several barriers remain to make it difficult for some workers to access medical marijuana, Pierce said. Some physicians will be unlikely to recommend it for patients, for example, and the cost could be high, she said.
No one-size-fits-all approach exists for dealing with medical marijuana, Pierce said, so employers need to be thinking of potential challenges well in advance.
“The subject matter is head-scratching,” Pierce said.