Medical Marijuana Impact on Florida Employment Law

February 21, 2017

This past election, Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which legalized medical use of marijuana.  Florida joins 27 other states that have legalized marijuana use in some form.  The Amendment allows use of marijuana by people with debilitating medical conditions, including Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV, AIDs, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class.

Florida still has to pass enabling legislation and the Department of Health has to promulgate administrative rules so the impact of the Amendment still is not clear.  However, it is clear that medical marijuana will present new questions regarding whether it should be considered an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) for those employees suffering from debilitating medical conditions.  The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities.  However, there is a carve out of use of illegal drugs.  Under Federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogen.

Thus, a conservative reading of the ADA would conclude that an employer is not (currently) required to allow an employee use of medical marijuana.  But, the law is involving and this analysis would change if Federal law no longer considers marijuana an illegal drug.

If you have questions regarding reasonable accommodations under the ADA or your employment rights, contact Darren D. McClain, Tampa’s Employment Lawyer.

This post was written by Darren McClain