Home » Connecticut Legalizes Recreational Marijuana but protects employer rights.

Connecticut Legalizes Recreational Marijuana But Protects Employer Rights.

Publish on Dec 29, 2023 by allenharper

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 1201, allowing citizens to use marijuana recreationally. However, despite this legalization, Connecticut’s law permits employers to maintain policies that restrict employees from using recreational marijuana, especially during work hours. Employers reserve the right to enforce their drug-free workplace policies, even in light of the state’s legalization. They might reconsider their hiring criteria or drug-testing policies due to changing laws.

Connecticut Continue Prohibiting Recreational Marijuana Use

What The Law Currently Allows:

Adults 21 years and older can possess 1.5 oz of cannabis. They can also grow up to three mature and three immature plants and up to 12 plants in their households. Cannabis plants must be indoors and can’t be accessed by another person other than the consumer. Impact on Job Applicants and Employees: Difficulty in seeking a job: Job seekers might need help despite legalization. They may need to navigate between legal usage and employer guidelines. Pre-Employment Testing: Even with recreational CT marijuana legalization, pre-employment drug screenings might remain standard practice. Applicants may need to pass these tests to secure a job. Continued Testing: Employees may need to adhere to existing workplace drug policies, potentially facing consequences for off-duty marijuana use despite its legality. Workplace Safety Concerns: Employers might maintain strict policies due to impairment and workplace safety. Risk of Disciplinary Action: Employees might face repercussions if they violate company policies by testing positive for CT marijuana. Safety-Sensitive Roles: In safety-critical industries, employers might maintain strict policies or Connecticut drug testing laws due to concerns about impairment and workplace safety.

Can I Use Cannabis After Work?

Cannabis is legal in Connecticut, but federal law still classifies cannabis as an illegal drug. So, employers with federal contracts or funding are exempt from state law or CT drug testing laws. According to state Department of Labor guidance, several industries in which employees are not allowed to use cannabis even when state law legalizes cannabis use for recreational use. Those industries include
  • Mining
  • Utilities
  • Manufacturers
  • Construction
  • Educational
  • Transportation
  • Safety-related activities.
These employers are unaffected by the Connecticut drug testing laws and may treat on and off-duty employees in the same manner as they did before the passage of this legislation,” the DOL’s guidance says.
  • Moreover, people employed as
  • Firefighters
  • Police officers
  • Emergency medical technicians
Correction Department employees with direct contact with inmates or supervisors or employees who care for children are also exempt from the recreational cannabis legalization law.

Can My Employer Prohibit Me From Consuming Cannabis Products Outside Of Work?

Non-exempt employees might have legal protections allowing off-duty cannabis use. Employers might not have the right to take adverse actions against non-exempt employees solely based on a positive THC test, especially if the use occurred outside work hours.

Does An Employer Have To Provide Reasonable Accommodation On The Job For A Cannabis User Employee?

Employers are not required to make accommodations for an employee to perform their job duties while under the influence of cannabis. However, medical marijuana users might have legal considerations. Connecticut has provisions protecting registered medical marijuana users from discrimination in employment. For instance, in CT, an employer cannot refuse to hire a person solely based on such person’s or employee’s status as a medical marijuana user.

May An Employee Possess Cannabis On The Employer’s Premises?

It depends on the employer’s written policies. Employers can set rules regarding cannabis use on their premises. Some employers might have strict policies prohibiting the possession or use of cannabis on their property, while others may have more lenient regulations.

Can An Employer Require An Employee To Refrain From Consuming Marijuana During Off-Duty Hours?

Yes, except for medical marijuana patients. Exceptions might exist for medical marijuana patients, as CT has enacted protections for these individuals, requiring employers to accommodate their medical needs to some extent. Such cases might involve potential accommodations while ensuring workplace safety and productivity.


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