A Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill that would protect employees from discrimination in the workplace due to their status as a medical marijuana patient or for the use of cannabis while off the job. The measure was pre-filed in the legislature by Democratic Rep. Tina Polsky of Boca Raton.
“Unless an employer establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the lawful use of medical marijuana has impaired the employee’s ability to perform the employee’s job responsibilities, it shall be unlawful to take any adverse employment action against an employee who is a qualified registered patient using medical marijuana” in a matter consistent with state law, a draft of the bill reads.
Additionally, employers would be required to give written notice to employees and job applicants who test positive for cannabis use that they have a right to identify themselves as a medical marijuana patient. Employees would be permitted to verify their status as a patient by providing either their medical marijuana identification card or a doctor’s certification as proof of legal use.
“I think this bill is timely and it’s cognizant of the growing number of medical marijuana users in the state of Florida,” Adam Kemper, a Boca Raton employment attorney who specializes in medical marijuana compliance, told local media.
Bill Has Some Exceptions
The bill would not apply to employees in occupations with safety-sensitive job responsibilities, such as heavy-equipment operators, first responders, day care and health care workers, and those who drive, carry a firearm, or handle hazardous materials.