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The Medical Marijuana Act in PA and Employment

Posted On: July 19, 2017 by Marc Neff

The Medical Marijuana Act in Pennsylvania prohibits patients under the influence of medical marijuana from performing employment duties at heights or in confined spaces. 35 P.S. § 10231.510(2). Also, in regards to employment of patients, employers have discretionary authority in certain instances. An employer may prohibit a patient who is under the influence of marijuana from performing any duty the employer deems life threatening to the patient, the employer, or other employees. 35 P.S. § 10231.510(3). Employers can also prohibit patients under the influence of marijuana “from performing any duty which could result in a public health or safety risk.” 35 P.S. § 10231.510(4). Neither of the discretionary prohibitions by employers mentioned above will be “deemed an adverse employment decision even if the prohibition results in financial harm for the patient.” 35 P.S. § 10231.510(3)(4). The employer is under no obligation to provide an employee with any accommodation for the employee to smoke their medical marijuana at the place of employment. 35 P.S. § 10231.2103. Furthermore, an employer may discipline an employee “for being under the influence of medical marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of medical marijuana when the employee’s conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position.” 35 P.S. § 10231.2103. However, the Act does provide protections for the employee. “No employer may discharge, threaten, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use medical marijuana.” 35 P.S. § 10231.2103(b)(1).

It is a crime for a patient or caregiver to “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly [possess], [store] or [maintain] an amount of medical marijuana in excess of the amount legally permitted.” 35 P.S. § 10231.1303. It is also a crime for a patient or caregiver to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provide a person, who is not lawfully permitted to receive medical marijuana, with medical marijuana. 35 P.S. § 10231.1304. The Act provides somewhat of a blanket statement by stating it does not prevent the imposition of any criminal, civil, or any other penalty for a person who, under the influence of medical marijuana, undertakes any task “when doing so would constitute negligence, professional malpractice or professional misconduct.” 35 P.S. § 10231.1309(1).

When a patient or caregiver violates (either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly) any provision of this Act their identification card can be suspended or revoked in addition to any other criminal charges or penalties that may apply. 35 P.S. § 10231.509. Additionally, the Act makes it a crime to violate its’ provisions, as well as, potentially subjects the violator to civil penalties (fines) for violating the Act. 35 P.S. § 10231.1308.

Anybody not authorized to have a medical marijuana card, should be aware that it is a crime to possess an identification card and to attempt to or purchase medical marijuana with said card. 35 P.S. § 10231.1305.

For more than twenty-five years, the Law Offices of Marc Neff has been defending the rights of individuals and corporations facing serious criminal charges. Throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and elsewhere, Mr. Neff has successfully defended clients charged with white-collar crimes such as mail fraud and bank fraud, RICO, drug distribution, money laundering, sex crimes and other serious offenses.

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