NEW YORK: New York lawmakers voted to legalize marijuana for medical purposes on June 20, becoming the 23rd state to do so. Despite a continued federal ban, most Americans live in jurisdictions where weed has been at least partially legalized. This makes for an especially complicated environment for employers, workers and labor unions.
Here’s five things you need to know about medical marijuana and workplace law in New York, which I compiled with help from Cindy Schmitt Minniti, a partner at Reed Smith LLC in Manhattan who represents management in employment law.
1.) The law may not be as narrowly written as it seems. Unlike California’s medical pot law, New York only allows it for nine specific conditions, and only legalizes marijuana in edible, oil or vaporized form — not smoking, the most common method of ingestion. Also, distribution is strictly limited. It might be tempting to think it won’t come up at your office, but that’s a mistake. For starters, one of the qualifying conditions is cancer, a condition faced by between one-third and one-half the population at some point in their lives.