On May 17, 2021, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 46 legalizing medical marijuana. The official title of the law is the “Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act (“The Law).” With this development, Alabama joins many other states that have legalized cannabis for medical use. The Law is effective immediately.
The Law legalizes use for 16 medical conditions and categories of conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, depression, epilepsy, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or “any condition” causing chronic pain where other treatment, including with opioids, have been ineffective. Interestingly, it does not permit use via smoking, vaping, or edibles, but instead mandates use by capsule, tincture, patch, nebulizer, or oil.
The Law is generally employer-friendly and does not contain an anti-discrimination provision for medical marijuana cardholders. The Law specifically states that it does not:
- Require an employer to permit, accommodate, or allow the use of medical marijuana;
- Require an employer to modify job or work conditions for applicants or employees who use medical marijuana;
- Prohibit employers from taking adverse employment action against medical marijuana cardholders, based either wholly or in part on the individual’s medical marijuana use, and irrespective of impairment;
- Prohibit employers from establishing and enforcing drug testing, drug-free workplace, or similar policies;
- Prohibit employers from requiring medical marijuana cardholders to notify employers of medical marijuana cardholder status;
- Interfere with federal regulations or restrictions, such as U.S. Department of Transportation regulations; and
- Provide for an express, legal cause of action for an individual to file a legal claim against an employer.
The foregoing commentary is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. First Advantage is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. The foregoing commentary is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of an attorney knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. First Advantage makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, currency or utility of the following information. Regulatory developments and impacts are continuing to evolve in this area.