New York Department of Labor Publishes FAQs Regarding Marijuana and the Workplace

Entitled "Adult Use Cannabis and the Workplace - New York Labor Law 201-D," the guidance was designed to address questions related to the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act ("MRTA").

Effective March 31, 2021 the MRTA legalized marijuana use and possession for adults 21 years of age and older in the state of New York. As such, New York employers are prohibited from refusing to hire, denying employment, discharging or otherwise discriminating against an individual who uses cannabis lawfully while off-duty, off-premises and not while in use of the employer's equipment/property.

Key points noted in the guidance include:

  • Testing for marijuana is only permissible in extremely limited circumstances (i.e. legally required for the position in question).
  • Drug test results cannot serve as an employer's concluding basis that an individual was impaired by marijuana.
  • The smell of marijuana itself does not qualify as an articulable symptom of impairment.
  • Only "employees" are protected from disciplinary action, meaning the MRTA does not apply to independent contractors, volunteers, and students.

Situations in which employers may take action as it relates to the use of marijuana include when:

  • Action is required by state or federal statute, regulation, ordinance or mandate.
  • Failure to take action would render the employer in violation of federal law.
  • Loss of a federal contract or funding is at risk.
  • In the course of active employment a worker displays specific articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment that negatively impact the employee's ability to perform tasks and/or interfere with the employer's obligation to maintain a safe workplace as required by state/federal safety laws.

Additionally, the guidance confirms that employers are still permitted to prohibit cannabis use during work hours as well as possession of cannabis on company property.

New York-based employers are encouraged to review the guidance and assess internal workplace policies and hiring protocols to bolster compliance with New York Labor Law 201-D.

Posted: November 1, 2021

All Rights Reserved © 2021 Business Information Group, Inc.
This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

Thank you for your interest in Business Information Group. We have received your message and will contact you in one business day or less.
You have exceeded the number of attempts to submit this form. As a result, your IP address has been temporarily blocked.

Get In Touch

Send a Message *fields required

What are your Interests?optional

Contact Information

Even our RFP PROCESS is state-of-the-art.

Take a look

What our clients are saying

We cannot express enough how much we have enjoyed working with BIG! It has really benefitted our processing and ease of doing business!

Licensing and Registration Manager
Investment and Insurance Company

I enjoy collaborating with BIG, and know that if I have to reach out with a question/concern, a positive attitude with a willingness to find resolve is on the other side of an email or a phone call.

Human Resources Administrator
Global Financial Services Firm

You have been the most professional and most helpful business partner that I have ever been associated with — always there to assist us and with rapid turnaround times.

Principal Consultant
Major Professional Services Network

I am confident whenever we add a product with your company that I will have a good experience.

Division Manager
Insurance and Financial Services Agency

We have received superior service and we know this is what you and your team strive for. We are grateful for the dedication, level of professionalism and effort shown.

Large Insurance Agency

You are leaving

Ok, Continue Cancel