New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

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With the stroke of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pen, New York joined the small handful of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use.
As part of the landmark legislation, individuals 21 years or older may possess up to three ounces of marijuana and/or consume marijuana lawfully. The law also tackles automatic expungements or resentencing which will occur for anyone with a prior marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the current law. The list of covered medical conditions related to medical marijuana use was also expanded.
Many of the law’s provisions will take months, if not potentially years, to implement. From an employment perspective, employers may still enact or enforce policies pertaining to marijuana use in the workplace. With that said, employers may not discriminate against individuals the lawful use or possession of marijuana (when outside of the employer’s workplace or working hours, and without use of employer property or equipment).
Impacted employers should review drug testing policies and procedures immediately as the law is already now in effect to determine if any changes are necessary. Given the complexity of this topic, we recommend consulting with qualified legal counsel as well.

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