The Louisiana medical marijuana program is undergoing a variety of changes as the 2022 legislative session closes.
New bills include protections for state employees who use medical marijuana, new pharmacy additions, and changes to the standards regarding who can recommend a medical marijuana certification in the Pelican State.
In addition to new protections for state employees, Louisiana also has created a new task force with the sole purpose of employment research for medical marijuana patients to uncover the unique challenges and problems that can arise between employers and potential hires.
In this article, we will discuss House Resolution 269 and how Louisiana’s approach to medical marijuana and employment, as well as some interesting propositions from Louisiana legislators looking to create a fair and equality-driven workplace!
Louisiana Creates New Cannabis Task Force
Task Force Created to Study Cannabis & Employment
Louisiana passed House Resolution 269 on June 6th, 2022, which introduced a new task force elected to study employment for medical marijuana patients.
HR269 designates 15 people from various departments who will comprise the board of volunteer task force members who are tasked with studying cannabis and employment in all facets, with a report due to the House of Representatives no later than February 1st, 2023.
The goal for the new task force as laid out in HR269 is to study other states’ enacted employer/employee policies and regulations with respect to medical marijuana patients, and consider any social, scientific, or other workplace related matters that could be relevant.
The task force is set to expire upon submitting its final report to the House of Representatives, which will help serve as a direction forward for employers looking to enact fair policies for medical marijuana patients in the workplace.
Special Mention of Firefighters & Employed Veterans
The bulk of HR269 deals with setting up the new task force and prioritizing research topics, though the resolution states that the task force will not be limited to only the purposes listed in the resolution. The bill’s intent is to employ the task force with the ability to uncover all related information.
The resolution encourages scientific, social, and workplace related matters for the task force to consider in its research, as well as a special note to investigate the “statistical impact on how beneficial medical marijuana usage can be for firefighters and employed Veterans”.
This is unlikely to receive an overwhelmingly accepting response from active-duty Veterans or firefighters, though it’s an important clause for the resolution.
Many states fail to incorporate research that includes law enforcement or military members, and this special clause challenges the task force with studying the potential benefits of medical marijuana for these high-risk positions.
Since Louisiana passed HB988, state employees will enjoy protections for being registered medical marijuana patients, and the new sate policy on cannabis and employment points to the direction that private employers are being encouraged to follow.
Are Private Employees Protected as Medical Marijuana Patients?
Not a Simple Yes or No Answer, But in Most Cases, Yes.
Private companies are free to incorporate any policy or regulatory practice that they see fit, provided it does not conflict with any state laws or operate under discriminatory rules.
Medical marijuana patients have certain rights protected under HIPAA, though the situation can be more complex when it comes to private employment and being a medical marijuana patient.
In addition, medical marijuana patients typically aren’t protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act due to rulings that don’t consider medical marijuana a federally legal prescription medication, though states are certainly free to incorporate their own policies and laws.
That’s why Louisiana has directed their focus on enacting common sense legislation that makes it crystal clear how private companies could proceed, but it’s not a requirement that they do.
Companies can still drug test and refuse to hire though, especially for safety-sensitive positions such as jobs that require operation of machinery or vehicles and supervisory positions where subordinates operate machinery or vehicles.
Although private companies still have a say in whether they want to hire medical marijuana patients or not, both the state and the nation are destigmatizing medical marijuana, and private businesses are encouraged to do the same.
Companies Likely to Soften Policies for Medical Marijuana Patients
More and more patients are registering for medical marijuana cards every day in Louisiana, and the pool of potential hires will likely see a large intersection with the growing number of medical marijuana patients.
At some point, companies will essentially be forced to incorporate policies that are inclusive for medical marijuana patients if they want access to labor.
Restricting potential new hires to only non medical marijuana patients will probably become impossible at some point in the future, especially since the federal government is likely to legalize recreational marijuana.
Although it is unlikely that you’ll ever be able to light up at the workplace, if Louisiana’s legislative example serves as the beacon for private workplace policies, it’s likely that you won’t have to avoid applying at certain companies just because you’re a medical marijuana patient.
Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification
The Louisiana medical marijuana program makes it easy to get a medical marijuana card, and you can even get your medical marijuana card online!
Consult with one of our compassionate physicians who can help walk you through the process of getting your medical marijuana card today.
Beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today, and you can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.
For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!