Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MN Medical Cannabis Program: What Should Cities Know?

In May 2014, the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act (the Act) was passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton. On July 1, 2015, the law came into effect, legalizing medical cannabis in liquid, pill, oil, or vaporizing form for specific illnesses.

According to the Star Tribune, 528 patients have qualified for medical marijuana as of August 7. Three dispensaries are currently open in Minneapolis, Eagan, and Rochester, and a fourth will open in Moorhead in the next few months. Though these numbers are low, they will grow—the Act allows for up to eight dispensaries to be opened throughout the state, and patient enrollment continues to increase.

As employers, cities need to consider how the new legislation will impact hiring, firing, disciplinary practices, and employee/patient protections. Within the Act, there is a provision providing that a registered employee cannot be disciplined for testing positive for cannabis unless the employee used, possessed, or was impaired by cannabis on the premises of employment or during the hours of employment.

There are many questions to consider when working the Act into personnel policies, such as when medical cannabis should be treated as an illicit drug? Though medical cannabis is legal in the state of Minnesota, there are cases where use of medical marijuana can result in termination. One example of an exception to state law is the Department of Transportation, which treats use of medical cannabis as it would any other type of illicit drug.

Do you have questions about the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program? Register for the League’s free webinar Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program: Introduction and Legislative Update by 12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18.

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