Wednesday, December 5, 2018

ALERT - Utah Public Employees May Now Use Medicinal Marijuana

On December 4, 2018, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed H.B. 3001, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, a bill that authorized the immediate implementation of a system that permits the use of medical cannabis in Utah.  Included within the bill are provisions that requires the Utah state government and all Utah political subdivisions to "treat [their] employee's use of medical cannabis . . . in the same way [they] treat[] employee use of opioids and opiates."  In other words, if a public employee's use of an opiate is permissible under its drug testing policies, such as, when an employee is using an opiate with a legal prescription, the employee's use of medical cannabis must also be permitted.  Additionally, the bill provides that an employee who is convicted of a federal offense for conduct that would have been lawful under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act is not subject to forfeiture of retirement benefits.  

Public employers should take steps immediately to assure that their drug testing programs comply with the new provisions of this Act.