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Ohio Legalizes Recreational Marijuana; Employers Need Not “Joint” In

By Nicole M. Thorn, Esq.



In Ohio’s most recent election, its citizens voted to legalize recreational marijuana. This law will be in effect on December 7, 2023. Many employers may be asking various questions about their obligations to handle such a change which may now affect their employees.

Ohio Revised Code Section 3780.35, which also goes into effect on December 7, outlines specifically the rights of an employer under this Adult Use Cannabis Control section. Some of the key highlights of the law are that an employer:

  1. Is not required to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of adult-use cannabis;

  2. Is not prohibited from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or taking any other adverse employment action based on an employee’s possession, use or distribution of cannabis;

  3. May maintain a drug-free policy, including a zero-tolerance policy.

  4. Any individual who is discharged from employment because of their use of cannabis will be considered to have been discharged for cause as it relates to obtaining unemployment benefits.


Healthcare employers were already familiar to some extent with the use of medical marijuana perhaps for their employees, but also in the treatment of patients. However, now is a good time to review not only your internal policies affecting employees, but also your practice’s handling of patient policies, including possession on your premises, and use as it affects their clinical treatments.

If you would like a review of any of such policies, please contact me.


The information in this article is for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. You should contact a licensed attorney before taking any actions or refraining from any actions based on the information provided here.

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