Legal recreational pot a potential ‘conundrum’ for the workforce

Connecticut is moving closer to legal recreational marijuana, and that has employers worried about how it will affect their workplace.

“What we’re concerned with is the fact that we have members that have workplace safety issues,” said Louise DiCocco, counsel with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, in response to lawmakers approving legislation that would create the framework for the legal sale of recreational marijuana in the state.

Connecticut already allows medical marijuana.

Many of the concerns, DiCocco pointed out in a CBIA article, focused on the effect legalization would have on companies in the defense, manufacturing and construction industries.

The bill still has a way to go before it is finalized, and legislators are considering it a “work in progress,” but employers — particularly federal government contractors — are hoping that they will be able to maintain their zero-tolerance and drug screening policies.

“State initiatives legalizing marijuana for medical purposes do not alter Lockheed Martin’s obligation as a federal contractor to maintain a drug-free workplace,” reads a statement from Stratford-based Sikorsky, which is among companies that must adhere to federal laws, including the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug on the federal level regardless of state laws allowing medical or recreational use. The federal statute, some employers feel, will expose them to civil liability if an employer has a good-faith belief that an employee possesses or appears impaired by cannabis.

“Obviously, you can’t have people utilizing marijuana under federal drug law,” DiCocco said.

State lawmakers say they…

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