Virginia: Protections for Medicinal Use of Cannabis Oil Expanded to Public Employees

By Michael S. McIntosh, Elizabeth A. Lalik, Alex Berg and Ashley D.N. Jones on June 7, 2024

In 2021, Virginia legalized marijuana and provided protections for medical marijuana cardholders by prohibiting private employers from discriminating against employees for their lawful use of medical cannabis.

Senate Bill 391 amends that law by specifying that an employee's lawful medical use of cannabis oil, as defined in Section 4.1-1600 of the Virginia Code, must conform to the laws of the Commonwealth to be protected (i.e., by using cannabis oil for medical reasons pursuant to a professional practitioner's certification). The bill also expands these protections to most state and local public employees, including employees of the Commonwealth and its counties, cities, towns, and political subdivisions. These protections, however, were not extended to law-enforcement officers.

Employers are still permitted to prohibit cannabis possession during work hours. Employers also remain able to take employment actions against employees for being impaired by marijuana at work, where the employer would otherwise be committing an act in violation of federal law or a federal contract or funding, or where an applicant or employee tests positive for THC in excess of 50 ng/ml for a urine test or 10 pg/mg for a hair test in conjunction with their employment (or prospective employment) in the defense industrial base sector (as defined by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)).

This article was originally published on Littler Mendelson's website. Click here to read the original and full article.

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Posted: June 12, 2024

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