marijuana squareAs the legal use of medical marijuana becomes a reality in New York State, business owners will encounter unprecedented workplace challenges. While medical marijuana is not lawful under federal law, under the New York statute, medical marijuana usage is permitted and employers cannot discriminate against individuals lawfully using medical marijuana. The framers of the legislation drafted a specific clause providing that individuals who lawfully use medical marijuana will be deemed to have a “disability” under the state’s Human Rights Law. Employers violating that provision may face administrative charges and litigation based on claims of unlawful discrimination. In addition, employers will have to grapple with the still untested intersection of the newly enacted medical marijuana law and the state labor law provision which bars employers from discriminating against employees for off-duty use of lawful substances. The attorneys at Meyer Suozzi are available to review employment policies to ensure compliance with the new legislation. In addition, our experience in the employment field enables us to assist medical marijuana businesses in drafting employment contracts and crafting employment policies tailored to their unique business needs.