Effective January 1, 2025, the use of medical cannabis is legal in Kentucky. However, employers aren’t required to permit or accommodate medical cannabis in the workplace (use, possession, sale, etc.), and employers may:
- Restrict employees from using medical cannabis.
- Restrict or prohibit employees from using equipment, machines, or tools if they are a registered qualified patient for cannabis and the employer thinks their use of these items creates an unreasonable safety risk.
- Include in any contractual provision that employee use of medical cannabis is prohibited.
- Establish and enforce a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace, or zero-tolerance drug policy.
- Exercise their ability to determine employees’ impairment if they are medical cannabis cardholders.
The law does not allow employees to claim they were wrongfully discharged or discriminated against by their employer because of their medical cannabis use. Employees are also not entitled to unemployment insurance benefits if they are terminated for consuming, using, or testing positive for medical cannabis if the employer prohibits its use.
Employers won’t be penalized or denied any state benefit if they employ cardholders.
Of note, the governor’s executive order, effective November 15, 2022, remains operative until this legislation takes effect in 2025. The executive order legalized medical cannabis use for specific medical conditions, such as cancer, PTSD, and terminal illness.
Whether or not you change your policies, now is a good time to remind your employees where you stand on cannabis use and under what circumstances, if any, they could be tested and disciplined for a positive test result.