This year Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Board received nine petitions to expand medical marijuana coverage to additional conditions. The petitions submitted were for:

  • Gilbert’s Disease;
  • Anxiety;
  • Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic pain, PTSD;
  • Bipolar, Anxiety, Depression, Sleep Disorder;
  • Opioid Use Disorder (OUD);
  • Insomnia;
  • Lupus;
  • Opioid Use Disorder; and
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

After reviewing the petitions, the Board indicated they were going forward with expert review and public comment on Opioid Use Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Board has announced they expect to come to a final decision on these two conditions by this summer.

The Board’s decision to potentially expand medical marijuana access to opioid patients and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder has many employers concerned about permitting marijuana use in the workplace. Thankfully, even if these new conditions are covered, employers are still permitted to enact and enforce zero tolerance policies for both on and off duty medical marijuana use. This is because Ohio’s medical marijuana program is a recommendation program, rather than a prescription program. Thus, because medical marijuana can only be recommended by a doctor, not prescribed, its use is not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) which would otherwise require accommodations for such use absent undue hardship. Consequently, until Ohio’s medical marijuana laws are amended to designate medical marijuana as a prescription, employers do not need to tolerate or accommodate such use by employees.

Moreover, employers are not affected by Ohio’s recent efforts to permit marijuana use recreationally. Even if passed, recreational marijuana need not be tolerated or accommodated by employers.

The attorneys at Fishel Downey regularly advise employers on issues related to on and off duty drug and alcohol use. If you have a specific question or scenario, and would like assistance, contact one of the attorneys at Fishel Downey Albrecht & Riepenhoff LLP at 614-221-1216.