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Looking to 2020: Marijuana and More Changes at the State and Local Level

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Over the last decade, the proliferation of state and local laws regulating employers has exploded. Whether it is minimum wage increases or salary history bans, the number of issues being addressed on a state and local level is unprecedented. But the evolving state laws on marijuana has and will continue to generate challenges for employers. Over 30 states recognize medical marijuana as legal and 11 states now approve of recreational marijuana in some form. In 2020, a handful of states will consider further relaxing their laws related to marijuana. Of course, this is all occurring while marijuana remains illegal under federal law. While only a few of the existing laws, like Arizona, have express protections for employees who use marijuana, employers, particularly multi-state operators, continue to address challenges. In some industries, drug-testing employers have removed marijuana from the panel of drugs for which they test. Nearly every employer has asked what is a safety-sensitive position and does the employer have more rights to deal with employees using marijuana if they are in safety-sensitive positions? Those questions have caused a number of employers to update and revise their long-used drug testing policies.  While it is still early in the 2020 election cycle, here is a list of states likely to be considering whether to approve recreational marijuana in 2020: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri.