Connecticut's Legal Marijuana Protections for Employers


The Human Resource Consulting Group

on Jul 8, 2021 3:56:50 PM

This is the latest Connecticut marijuana legalization update, as produced by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA). Below is a summary of S.B. 1201 that was signed into law on June 22, 2021, which legalized cannabis and provided insight to specific guidelines or rules that companies can utilize to craft Connecticut HR policies.

This law is one of many recent updates to Connecticut labor and employment laws from this year. 

Connecticut Marijuana Legalization 

Governor Lamont signed the bill, which allows those aged 21 or older to possess of 1.5 ounces of marijuana in public and 6 ounces at home starting on July 1st, 2021. Cannabis non-medicinal / recreational sales are expected to begin in May of 2022 as a result of this legislation as well.

Connecticut is now the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize cannabis for non-medical use.

Connecticut Employer Protections

The bill includes employer protections for maintaining safe workplaces that CBIA and member company representatives advocated for, which include the following:

  • Employers can drug test employees and job applicants, and take disciplinary action.
  • Employers can adopt policies prohibiting the possession and use of cannabis in the workplace.
  • No accommodations are required allowing employees to perform job duties under the influence of cannabis or possess or use marijuana in the workplace.
  • Employers may prohibit cannabis use outside the workplace if the employer adopted a policy under the bill’s conditions.
  • Employers are not limited from taking adverse or other employment action upon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s use of cannabis while working or determining that an employee shows specific, articulable symptoms of drug impairment while working.
  • With certain exceptions, an employee or prospective employee aggrieved by a violation of the bill’s employer limitations may, within 90 days after the alleged violation, bring a civil action.

Next Steps for Connecticut Employers

It's a good idea to start working with an HR Business Partner to create company policies, update your employee handbook, and answer questions regarding how the legalization of marijuana can impact operations. These are the types of HR consulting services that are available to HRCG clients. To learn more about these services, contact us today.

And if you would like to receive insights on Connecticut compliance and legislative mandates as they happen, be sure to subscribe to our HR alerts and updates.

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