Legal Marijuana in NJ: Are You Allowed to Smoke at Work During Breaks?
You will soon be able to go into a store in New Jersey and purchase marijuana cookies, brownies, or a bag of pot to smoke. But businesses are still unclear about the rules and regulations that will be in place for their employees.
Angelo M. Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said the legalization of recreational marijuana does not mean somebody will be allowed to show up high on pot and impaired at their job.
Smoke pot on your break
If someone smokes a joint on their break during the workday, and they seem to behave normally, will that be considered acceptable?
“I think there’s a lot of unanswered questions that employers have with regard to how the legalization of marijuana will play out in the workplace,” said Valente.
As far as people getting the boot from work for getting high, he said “I don’t think they can be fired for using marijuana as long as it’s not done during work hours. However, I think these are some of the unanswered that we might be looking for answers for.”
Some jobs won’t permit any marijuana use
Valente noted while New Jersey state law will permit the sale and use of marijuana, you won’t be able to enjoy pot if you are employed in certain types of jobs.
“If an employer has federal contracts, or if they’re guided by federal rules and regulations, for example, commercial driver’s licenses have to still have testing in place,” he said.
He noted if someone has a painful condition that is treated with the use of medical marijuana “I think those are the kind of situations where accommodations may be made by an employer but of course, this is done on a case by case basis.”
He said it’s important to get these kinds of questions answered sooner rather than later.
Businesses preparing for marijuana use
“Certainly we want to make sure we have a safe workplace for employers and employees and customers, and that always has to be in the forefront.”
Valente added employers need to make sure they are proactive and stay up to date as rules and regulations are developed.
“The use of marijuana will be something that employers and employees will be addressing and dealing with, and it’s important that they become knowledgeable about what that means for their particular workplace,” he said.
New Jersey’s decriminalization law allows people to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana without any legal consequences.
Additional regulations pertaining to the sale and use of recreational marijuana could be forthcoming in the next month or two.