How should businesses handle medical marijuana in the workplace? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

How should businesses handle medical marijuana in the workplace?

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BOARDMAN, Ohio -

In a few months, medical marijuana in Ohio will go into its implementation phase and that means uncharted territory for most businesses in the state.

"On Demand Drug Testing and Work Solutions" out of Austintown sponsored a seminar on "Medical Marijuana in the Workplace" that nearly 100 business owners, representatives, police officers, firefighters, and others attended at the Holiday Inn in Boardman.

The main point that was emphasized when it comes to medical marijuana was to implement a policy for your company and make it crystal clear to all of your employees.

Ohio has literally turned over a new leaf when it passed the law allowing medical marijuana.

But the change is posing a number of questions for employers.  Many who will want to keep their zero tolerance and drug-free workplace policies.  And the law makes it clear according to Ruth Bowdish, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor with On Demand, "They do not have to accommodate medical marijuana."

If you update your policy make sure it states no drugs will be tolerated even if you have a medical marijuana card.

"We're not here to debate the medicinal qualities of marijuana, they've been shown.  What we're here to talk about today is whether it should be permitted on the worksite," Bowdish said.

Workers can be disciplined, terminated or refused to be hired if they can't pass a drug test.

With medical marijuana, people can choose to use the liquid form and if they choose to Vape -- well it may not be a traditional marijuana smell.

"So one of the most recognizable methods of marijuana is the odor, right?  Well, now we're starting to see a game changer.  Because there's grape, there are different flavors out there of the marijuana.  So it's becoming very difficult to be able to determine whether it's a tobacco product or whether it's marijuana product," Bowdish said.

Challenges employers will have to weed through.

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