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Medical marijuana. Medical marijuana. Photo: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com

In April 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program into law, adding the commonwealth to a list of 24 U.S. states with similar statutes. Though this program represents a step in the fight for access to more extensive pain management therapies, it also causes confusion among employers that are now required to abide by this new law.

Issues Within the Construction Industry

Under Pennsylvania’s new law, employers may continue to discipline employees who are under the influence in the workplace or when their conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position. An employer may prohibit employees who are prescribed medical marijuana from performing certain employment duties that  the employer deems life-threatening or to be a public health or safety risk. This is especially pertinent to employees in the construction industry who often are required to operate heavy machinery, drive vehicles, work at heights, work with power tools or engage in other activities that would pose a significant safety threat if they were under the influence of drugs while working.

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