As many expected, on November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” or  “Act”), legalizing recreational marijuana use.  In a nutshell, the Act legalizes and taxes nonmedical use of marijuana by adults aged 21 years and older.  It also creates a system for regulating nonmedical marijuana business and changes penalties for marijuana-related crimes.  Cities and counties may continue to regulate and/or or ban marijuana-related businesses.

The Act nevertheless intends to allow employers to implement workplace policies pertaining to marijuana.  Specifically, the Act does not (1) “affect the rights and obligations of…employers to maintain a drug and alcohol free workplace,” (2) “require [employers] to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of marijuana in the workplace,” (3) “affect the ability of employers to have policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees,” or (4) “prevent employers from complying with state or federal law.”   The Act also retains existing law that prohibits operating a vehicle while using or impaired by marijuana and laws providing that it would constitute negligence or professional malpractice to act while impaired by marijuana.

Employers should review their workplace policies in light of the voters’ approval of Proposition 64 and ensure that the employer’s expectations regarding marijuana are clear.

The text of Proposition 64 can be found here.

Keesal, Young & Logan Employment Group

This information has been prepared by Keesal, Young & Logan for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and Keesal, Young & Logan. You should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.