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Maine Becomes First State to Protect Marijuana Users in the Workplace

Even though marijuana is legal in many states, that doesn't necessarily mean people are allowed to use it. Many workplaces still refuse to allow their employees to use the drug and test to make sure they don't. But in Maine, that could be a thing of the past.

The state of Maine has become the first state to prevent employers from discriminating their workers based on marijuana use. Starting today, employers cannot punish their workers nor refuse to hire someone based on marijuana use done outside of the workplace. Use of the drug or coming to work under the influence of marijuana can still be punished, but Maine's Labor Department says a positive rest result for cannabis is not sufficient to prove someone showed up to work while high. The state's Labor Department also removed marijuana from the list of drugs employers can test job applicants for.

It's somewhat ironic that Maine would become the first state to enact these types of protections, considering they're not technically a state where marijuana is legal. While voters approved a ballot initiative in November 2016 to legalize cannabis recreationally, the state's government has been unable to pass a bill that would implement the law. But these laws will still protect people who use the drug medicinally.

The issue of marijuana use and the workplace is one that hasn't been fully worked out in legalized states. While it seems many employers are relaxing rules on the drug, there are still very few protections for workers who use it. And this is particularly harmful for people who use the drug to treat serious medical issues.

Perhaps Maine's new policy will become a starting point for state's everywhere.

(h/t HR Dive)


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