Cannabis Resources

Cannabis at work? Employer's Guide.

As of July 1 2023, adult-use cannabis by adults 21 and older will become legal in the state of Maryland. While we’ve seen the passage of this legislation across many US States over the last decade, as a Maryland employer, you may have questions about how this new legislation affects your business practices and policies. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for some clarity on the matter. And continue to check back frequently for updates as the laws and regulations around this subject continue to evolve.

News Alerts

Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization (Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission)

Cannabis At Work: FAQs

As an employer, am I now required to allow my employees to come to work under the influence of cannabis?

The simple answer is “No.” While the law now decriminalizes the use of recreational cannabis, it does not allow any new rights to the employee. Just as you aren’t expected to allow employees to work under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you do not have to tolerate an employee being under the influence of cannabis either.

How is cannabis use going to impact the safety of my workplace?

If an employee is under the care of a doctor and taking a prescribed medication that might impair them on the job, they are required to disclose this to their employer. Therefore, if an employee is using Cannabis medicinally, they must inform you. If they are exhibiting symptoms of being under the influence of Cannabis at work, then you are in your right to explore options to remove them from their position.

My company follows Federal regulations. How does this law impact my business?

Cannabis is still illegal federally. If you’re subject to DOT or considered a government workplace then you must sign off on the federal allowances. Additionally, Cannabis cannot be consumed by either the driver or passenger of a car. As with federal law, there are some state requirements that require employees to be drug-free.

Should I remove cannabis from my drug test panel?

Every business owner must decide this for themselves, however, if you choose to keep cannabis in your drug panel you must be consistent with the results you receive. You cannot show favoritism. However, according to the Maryland code, if an employee has a medical marijuana exemption, then they must not be denied any right or privilege as the result of a medical marijuana status provided the patient is complying with the law.

Can drug testing for cannabis shrink your pool of potential candidates?

Potentially, yes. At Prescott HR, we often counsel our clients to consider the impact of including this drug test in the hiring process and to consider if it is worth the effort.  Removing cannabis from the panel of drugs tested may be an option for employers to consider if their industry does not require such testing.

Can I fire employees if they fail a cannabis drug test?

With proper policies and consistent practices, employers may terminate employees who do not pass a drug test.  However, the truth is that we are not going to fully understand the legislature’s full intent of the law until there are legal cases to support it. There are many options to consider when terminating an employee for cannabis use.  We advise all of our clients to consult with legal counsel to ensure that the termination is consistent with applicable laws.

I don’t personally agree with recreational cannabis use. I have never drug tested for cannabis before but now I want to know who in my company uses it. Can I start enforcing this drug test?

We don’t recommend drug testing just to “catch people” in the act. Whether to drug test or not should be thought of as a business decision only and employers should consider how or if this test would benefit the company and employees as a whole. Your personal beliefs and preferences around whether cannabis should be legalized recreationally have no place in how you create policies and enforce policies for your organization. It is not recommended to create policies to dictate what people do outside of work. There might be unintentional consequences, including eliminating or alienating your workforce.

Adopting a consistent drug testing policy that works for your place of business can be created so long as you are able to apply it consistently.

Can I ask my employees if they use cannabis recreationally?

We wouldn’t encourage anyone to actively ask any questions in regard to an employee’s recreational use of cannabis outside of work.

How will this new law affect my dress code and grooming policies?

Like offensive body odor, the strong smell of marijuana could offend others at the workplace. Decisions should be made – and included in company policies – how you will address employees coming to work smelling like cannabis or any other grooming concerns that might arise.

Can I include in my policies that cannabis of any kind, including edible cannabis, is not allowed in my place of business?

Yes. According to, “Maryland law does not prevent employers from prohibiting possession, use, or testing for marijuana use, and it does not protect employees who test positive for any reason.”

We will continue to watch what’s happening with this new legislation. We will update this page as the understanding of the new law evolves and to reflect the questions and concerns of our clients. Check back frequently.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Prescott HR does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites. Users of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.

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