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Medical-marijuana questions remain for employers

PHOENIX — As the controversial medical-marijuana program moves forward, some employers are left wondering what it means for their staff.

More employers could soon be dealing with employees who use the drug.

“All those 20,000 or 30,000 cardholders that have been holding cards will, very soon, have access to buying the drug,” said Phoenix employment attorney John Balitis.

The drug use could create an issue for employers who drug test, as medical-marijuana cardholders are supposed to be exempt from being disciplined for using the drug.

“Under the Medical Marijuana Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against medical marijuana users, simply by virtue of their status as a medical-marijuana cardholder alone,” said Balitis.

However, HB 2541 may have created a safe harbor for employers. The law allows them to implement their own drug- testing policy and lay off drug users who pose a safety risk.

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